India should not have any arms deal with USA if it continues attaching strings
The USA Administration it seems is totally oblivious of the fact that it is not supplying drones etc as a military aid to India but only after taking hard cash. Therefore once the sale is decided in principle then the ongoing negotiations for a INR 25000 Crores deal involving the supply of 31 MQ-9B Predator drones to India must be strictly limited to Commercial transactions Arms Merchants are no longer in position of dictating terms to India.
The US Congress is expected to consider the deal, with the Biden administration likely to notify Congress soon. It is in the interest of the USA that they hasten this process of theirs or be ready to lose the deal. India can no longer be bothered by these internal rituals of the USA Congress. Sellers cannot dictate anything else except the price and that too is negotiable if they wish to sell and gain profit.
MQ 9 B may be advanced warfare drones but then more or less similar drones are available with Israel and few others also who are more than willing to sell to India and that too without strings. Moreover these MQ9 B are going to be gap fillers only because in the foreseeable future even DRDO made drones are going to be equally sophisticated and lethal.
The MQ9B deal, announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington in June 2023, is aimed at filling the gaps in India’s drone surveillance capabilities, particularly along the Line of Actual Control with China. The drones can stay airborne for over 35 hours and carry missiles and bombs. The cost is estimated to be around $3 billion….quite costly by any consideration but India is still willing in the interest of growth of te strategic relationship.
India and the US are continuing to hold negotiations to firm up a USD 3 billion deal for supply of 31 MQ-9B Predator long endurance drones to Indian armed forces but it is taking a bit too long. A few short sighted politicos in the US Congress it seems are throwing some tantrums. They better consider it soon and favourly too or be ready to say good bye to the deal itself. Very politely the External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said to a querry that the US has its internal processes in place for such supplies and New Delhi is respectful of that.
“This particular matter relates to the US side. They have their internal processes in place and we are respectful of that. That is where I would like to leave my comment,” he said at a media briefing.
His comments came in response to a volley of questions on the timeline for the US Congressional approval as well as a media report that said Washington blocked the drone sale to India until New Delhi carries out a thorough probe into an Indian link to the failed plot to kill American terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.
Rather the time has come for a few Indian MPs to tell the American Congressmen that they better have that American terrorist Pannun arrested and extradited to New Delhi.
It is learnt that the US State Department has already apprised several key American lawmakers in the US Congress about the mega deal and there have been indications that it is unlikely to face any hurdle. The Biden administration is likely to notify the US Congress on its plan to supply the drones to India soon and it could happen in the next few days. Well Biden needs to be encouraged to move fast. He has already put a question mark on te future of QUAD by not attending the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi.
“We continue to discuss with the US Congress the potential sale consistent with standard processes and policies guiding such arm sales decisions. As part of the standard process, the State Department routinely engages Congressional foreign affairs committees prior to formal notification to address questions from committee staff” said a US embassy spokesperson said on Wednesday.
Some very clever people in the USA federal prosecutors office accused Indian national Nikhil Gupta of working with an Indian government employee in the foiled plot to kill an American terrorist Pannun, who holds dual citizenship of the US and Canada. This American terrorist keeps threatening Govt of India from the American soil but the USA Administration has not taken any action so far, even wen he US a Proclaimed terrorist.
Such American strategy is only going to backfire for the USA. State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said the drone deal offers significant potential to further advance bilateral strategic technology cooperation.
“Of course, Congress plays an important role in the US arms transfer process. We routinely consult with members of Congress on the foreign affairs committees before our formal notification so we can address questions that they might have, but I don’t have any comment on when that formal notification might take place,” he said on Wednesday.
Well then the State Department should stop playing games and rather take charge of the situation instead if risking the strategic relationship.