In a sign of growing closeness between India and the United States amid conflict with China, the Indian Navy has inducted two Sea Guardian drones from an American firm on lease for carrying out surveillance in the Indian Ocean Region and which can also be deployed along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh.
The American drones have been inducted by the Navy under the emergency procurement powers granted by the Defence Ministry in view of the India-China border conflict.
“The drones arrived in India in the second week of November and were inducted into flying operations on November 21 at Indian Navy base at INS Rajali,” top government sources told ANI.
The drones have already started flying operations and with an endurance capability of being in the air for over 30 hours, they are proving to be a big asset for the maritime force, they said.
An American crew from the vendor is also accompanying the equipment and would help the Navy to operate the machines, the sources said.The drones are flying in Indian colours and would be on lease with India for one year even as the three services are preparing the case for acquiring 18 more such drones from the US, the sources said.
The two non-weaponised MQ-9B Sea Guardian drones have been leased for one year with an option of extending the period by another year, they said.
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