Another PROXY WAR in the works? U.S. approves $4 billion sale of drones, missiles and bombs to India
02/07/2024 // Kevin Hughes // Views

The United States has approved the sale of almost $4 billion worth of weapons including attack drones, Hellfire drone-launched air-to-surface missiles and laser-guided bombs to India as the administration of President Joe Biden seeks to strengthen its defense ties with India and weaken New Delhi's own relationship with Russia.

According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the deal will help India answer to "current and future threats by enabling unmanned surveillance and reconnaissance patrols in [the] sea lanes of operation."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has been receptive to this deepening of defense connections with the U.S., as it proceeds with a 10-year, $250 billion military modernization program.

The recent $4 billion agreement is part of a three-year deal with the U.S. that would increase India's military capabilities.

The deal, which has been going on for no less than three years, would increase India's military capabilities as the drones it has now can only be employed for surveillance and reconnaissance. The sale also includes transfers of training munitions and navigational and communications equipment.

Under the terms of the agreement, which has a maximum value of $3.99 billion, the U.S. would sell up to 31 MQ-9B Sky Guardian drones, up to 170 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles and 310 GBU-39B/B Laser Small Diameter Bombs, among other equipment.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, which manufactures the MQ-9B, will be the major contractor. Lockheed Martin Corp. manufactures the Hellfire, while Boeing produces the GBU-39B/B Laser Small Diameter Bomb.

India focused on challenging China's growing influence in Indo-Pacific region

The approval comes at a time when the White House is looking to support the efforts of its allies in the Indo-Pacific region, especially as India is mostly focused on challenging China's growing influence in the region. (Related: Biden administration approves $583M arms sale to Saudi Arabia and $85M sale to the U.A.E.)

"This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to strengthen the U.S.-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defense partner that continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region," the State Department said in a statement.

It stated that India "has demonstrated a commitment to modernizing its military and will have no difficulty absorbing these articles and services into its armed forces."

The sale marks a milestone in Indian purchases of American weapons after New Delhi's long dependence on arms from Russia, which has been growing controversial because of sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.

Indian officials had talked about the drones during a state visit by Modi last year at the invitation of Biden, after Indian clashes with China and Pakistan.

India is particularly interested in the sale of the Sky Guardian drones, as they can watch India's borders and support Indian Navy efforts to patrol the Indian Ocean. They can remain airborne for 35 hours at a time, fire Hellfire missiles and carry around 1,000 pounds of bombs.

The Indian Navy has already been operating two Predator drones on lease through which it has checked the Arabian Sea to protect ships from attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels and Somali pirates.

Follow for more news about drones and other military weapons.

Watch the video below about an American MQ-9 Reaper drone that was shot down near Baghdad after taking off from Kuwait.

This video is from the The Prisoner channel on

More related stories:

U.S. supplies Ukraine with new, cheaper long-range bomb that can hit civilian targets in Russian territory.

North Korea tests solid-fuel missile with HYPERSONIC warhead in newest display of power.

Iran has developed a new, high-tech combat drone for Russia to use in Ukraine.

China sanctions 5 U.S. defense corporations in answer to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

U.S. has transported over 10,000 tons of weapons to support Israel's ongoing offensive in Gaza.

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