The Donald Trump administration is "considering" India's request for armed drones for its air force, according to a senior American official.
"Yes, yes," the administration official told PTI when asked about India's pending request about the purchase of armed drones as part of its armed forces' modernisation drive.
The armed drones, the Indian Air Force (IAF) believes, would help it strengthen its defence capabilities. Early this year, the IAF had requested the US Government for General Atomics Predator C Avenger aircraft. It is understood that IAF would need 80 to 100 units making it approximately a whopping $8 billion deal.
The Trump administration's consideration in this regard comes months after a successful meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump at the White House on June 26, during which the US announced to sell 22 unarmed Guardian drones to India+ , which would add the Indian Navy's surveillance capabilities in the strategic Indian Ocean region.
"We are at ways to, in terms of Foreign military sales, but really also in defence cooperation broadly how to strengthen our relationship and cooperation," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The official was responding to questions on defence relationship and India's quest for high-tech defence equipments and technologies from the US as part of its long overdue armed forces' modernisation drive running into several hundred billions of dollars over the next decade.
Previous Obama administration had designated India as major defence partner and the Trump administration has accelerated the process of considering Indian requests.
"The US Navy and the Indian Navy have been cooperating for many years on counter piracy efforts, on ensuring freedom of navigation in the Indian Ocean and the and Red Sea and the Persian Gulf," the official said.