PM Modi Okays India buying 31 US armed drones

Modi Biden


Rama Krishna Sangem

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will oversee signing a deal with US firms to buy armed drones, worth around 900 million US dollars (Rs 7,900 crore) during his upcoming 5 day visit to America, beginning June 21. Each drone will cost around 30 million US dollars and we will buy not less than 31 drones. 

India’s defence ministry on June 15, Thursday approved the acquisition of 31 MQ-9B armed drones from the US, with a formal announcement on the deal expected during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s State visit to Washington next week, people familiar with the matter said. The clearance for procuring the drones made by General Atomics was given by a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by defence minister Rajnath Singh, the people said.

India is expected to buy the drones, which have an endurance of more than 27 hours and can operate at up to 50,000 feet, in a deal worth a little more than $3 billion, the people said. Fifteen drones will be for the navy, and eight each for the army and the air force, they said.

The deal is expected to be announced when Modi meets US President Joe Biden at the White House on June 22, the people said. This is only the third state visit hosted by Biden and the two sides are looking to the talks between the two leaders to lead to breakthroughs in collaboration in other areas, such as critical and emerging technologies.


Strengthen Indian Navy

India and the US have engaged in talks on the acquisition of drones for almost eight years, primarily to bolster the Indian armed forces’ surveillance capabilities. The Indian Navy currently operates two MQ-9 drones leased from the US in November 2020.

The acquisition of the drones gained urgency after the military standoff with China in the Ladakh sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) began in May 2020, increasing the Indian military’s need to enhance its vigil along the disputed border.

The defence ministry’s “Acceptance of Necessity” is the first step in the formal procurement process, which will need to be cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by the prime minister. The two sides will also need to conclude negotiations on the final pricing of the drones.


Rama Krishna Sangem

Ramakrishna chief editor of excel India online magazine and website

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Rama Krishna Sangem

Excel India national news magazine is a media startup founded and piloted by Rama Krishna Sangem, a Hyderabad based senior journalist with over three decade experience in the field of media, mostly in print journalism. His rich experience in reporting for both Telugu and English newspapers and heading a TV news channel and some online outfits will be of immense use to this venture. Excel India English news magazine seeks to fill the gap of analytical understanding to our readers who today are confronted with myriad media platforms. Our online version not only offers regular updates and commentary on happenings around us, but also gives larger stories not limited by space constraints of a print magazine. Excel India is ably run by a team of senior journalists committed to values and quality standards in the profession. We urge you all to support and guide us in this endeavour. Reach us at