China to develop drones with India, eyes on US
The United States and India will co-develop drones, a senior Pentagon official said on Thursday, as Washington seeks closer ties with Delhi as a way to counter China.
India will manufacture these planes and export them to other countries in its region, the official said.
Delhi wants to diversify its weapons, which are mainly Russian-made, and also to develop its own defense industry.
“And we want to support India on both fronts and are doing so,” Eli Ratner, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, told a group of reporters and defense experts.
“In practical terms, this means that we are going to be working closely with India on co-production and co-developing capabilities that will support India’s own defense modernization goals,” Ratner said.
India can then “export at an affordable cost to its partners throughout the region, including South and Southeast Asia.”
Ratner cited the possibility of developing drones launched from airplanes and anti-drone defense systems.
He also said the Pentagon is looking at “opportunities for co-production of key capabilities” in the near and medium term, but did not specify which.
“We are having good conversations at the highest level with our counterparts in the Indian government about our priorities in that regard, and we look forward to making an announcement on this front very early,” Ratner said.
Relations between the United States and India were troubled for years, but their shared wariness of an aggressive China brought countries closer together under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former President Donald Trump.
In 2016, the United States designated India as a “major defense partner” and since then, the two countries have signed agreements that facilitate the transfer of top-class weapons and deepen military cooperation. We do.