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India's MQ-9B Predator Drone Acquisition: Key Significance



  Aug 18, 2023

MQ-9B Predator Drones :Significance of Acquisition by India


1. What are the MQ-9B Predator Drones?

The MQ-9B Predator drones are advanced Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) designed for high-altitude, long-endurance operations. They are developed by the US defense firm General Atomics and are known for their intelligence, surveillance, and target acquisition capabilities.
 

2. What is the significance of India's acquisition of these drones?

India's acquisition of 31 MQ-9B Predator drones holds several significant implications:
 
1. Enhanced Defense Capabilities: The drones will significantly augment India's intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities. These advanced UAVs can provide real-time data and imagery, enhancing the country's ability to monitor and respond to security threats.
 
2. Self-Reliance: The drones will be assembled in India, promoting indigenous production capabilities and fostering self-reliance in defense technology. The establishment of a Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) hub in India ensures that the drones' maintenance will also be conducted locally.
 
3. Strategic Geopolitical Implications: The acquisition of these advanced drones underscores India's commitment to strengthening its defense capabilities and security posture. It sends a message to regional adversaries that India is prepared to address security challenges effectively.
 
4. Global Recognition: The MQ-9B system is recognized globally, with several countries already operating these drones. India's decision to acquire these drones reflects its alignment with global defense trends and technological advancements.

3. How will the drones be deployed?

The drones will be deployed at three major hubs across northern, northeastern, and southern parts of India. They will serve a dual purpose of land and aerial surveillance on both the western and eastern fronts, as well as monitoring India's island territories and maritime zones.
 

4. What is the process of acquisition and negotiation?

The acquisition involves submitting a Letter of Request to the US administration and obtaining a Letter of Offer and Acceptance from the US government, subject to approval by the US Congress. The Contract Negotiation Committee (CNS) will finalize the terms of the agreement before seeking approval from India's Cabinet Committee for Security (CCS). The proposed price of $3.072 billion will be subject to negotiations.
 

5. How does the acquisition align with India's defense objectives?

The acquisition of MQ-9B drones aligns with India's goal of strengthening its national security apparatus. The drones provide crucial intelligence-gathering capabilities, enhancing situational awareness and border surveillance. Additionally, the establishment of an MRO hub in India contributes to self-reliance and technological expertise in defense.
 

6. Does this acquisition contradict India's "Aatmanirbhar Bharat" vision?

No, the acquisition does not contradict India's vision of self-reliance. India's Defense Research Development Organisation (DRDO) is concurrently developing indigenous drones, showcasing the country's commitment to technological advancements. The acquisition of MQ-9B drones complements India's technological aspirations and defense requirements.
 

7. What are the regional implications of this acquisition?

The acquisition of advanced drones has raised concerns among India's regional adversaries, including China and Pakistan. The enhanced surveillance capabilities of these drones contribute to India's deterrence and defense posture, influencing the regional security dynamics.
 

8. How will these drones contribute to India's defense strategy?

The MQ-9B Predator drones will provide real-time intelligence and surveillance data, strengthening India's ability to monitor its borders, maritime zones, and potential security threats. This enhanced situational awareness will enable better decision-making and response strategies.
 

9. What role will the drones play in India's national security?

The drones will play a pivotal role in enhancing India's national security by providing continuous surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. This will contribute to safeguarding borders, identifying security threats, and maintaining sovereignty.
 

10. What does this acquisition mean for India's defense future?

The acquisition of MQ-9B Predator drones marks a significant milestone in India's defense modernization efforts. The drones' deployment, combined with the establishment of an MRO hub, will pave the way for future advancements in defense technology and intelligence gathering, ensuring India's security and sovereignty for years to come.


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