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US looking to ramp up arms sales to India: Report

PTI Washington | Updated on August 05, 2020 Published on August 05, 2020

New push comes following clashes between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh

The US is looking to ramp up arms sales to India, including those of armed drones that can carry over 1,000 pounds of bombs and missiles, said a media report, noting the “new push” comes following the violent clashes in June between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh.

Clash with China

Twenty Indian army personnel were killed during the clashes with Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on June 15. The Chinese side also suffered casualties in the clashes but it is yet to give out details.

The number of casualties on the Chinese side was 35, according to a US intelligence report.

“The Trump administration is looking to ramp up arms sales to India in the wake of the country’s deadly border clashes with China, opening a new front of tensions between Washington and Beijing,” the Foreign Policy magazine reported based on interviews with US officials and Congressional aides.

Quoting the officials, the magazine said the US in recent months has laid the groundwork for new arms sales to India that “go above and beyond what previous administrations considered, including longer-term weapon systems with higher levels of technology and sophistication, such as armed drones”.

President Donald Trump has officially amended rules that restrict the sale of military-grade drones to foreign partners like India, it said, adding that prominent among them being the recent announcement by the Trump administration changing its interpretation of the Missile Technology Control Regime.

This will allow the US to consider the sale of armed drones, which had previously been restricted because of their speeds and payloads, to allow them to be considered alongside surveillance drones, the news report said.

“They are going to want to provide India with armed [category-1] Predators,” a Congressional aide familiar with the matter told Foreign Policy, while referring to MQ-1 Predator drones that can carry more than 1,000 pounds of bombs and missiles.

The aide, according to the magazine, said the State and Defense Departments had been pushing for a transaction.

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Published on August 05, 2020
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