India is likely to become the first country to receive MQ-9B Reaper drones from the United States..!
India and the United States have signed a contract worth $3 billion, encompassing the acquisition of 31 high altitude long endurance UAVs. As part of the agreement, the Indian Navy is set to receive 15 SeaGuardian drones, while the Army and the Indian Air Force will each obtain eight SkyGuardian drones, designed for land operations.
A significant development emerged as GE and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate on the production of fighter jet engines for the Indian Air Force.
Pankaj Saran, former deputy national security advisor, hailed this as a "new era" in India-US relations, emphasizing the focus on defense and technology sectors. Air Marshal Ravi Kant Sharma (retired), former Vice Chief of the Indian Air Force, praised the MoU, stating it would contribute to India's progress toward self-reliance in jet engine technology.
The acquisition of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) was also highlighted, with the Indian Navy already operating two Reaper drones and set to receive more MQ-9B drones. Captain DK Sharma (Retd), former Navy spokesperson, noted the advantage these drones provide for maritime surveillance, particularly in monitoring Chinese activities in the Indian Ocean region.
The visit also resulted in agreements such as Micron's plan to establish a semiconductor plant in Gujarat, the joint mission of sending an Indian astronaut to the International Space Station in 2024, and India's decision to join the Artemis Accords for civil space exploration.