NEW YORK: India will aim to get armed drones technology from the United States during Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's visit to the United States.
Parrikar, who left for Washington on Sunday, will meet with his American counterpart Ashton Carter on Monday. This will be the sixth meeting between the two defence ministers.
In the past, the US has shied away from offering its armed predator drones to India, which has been used in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
However, after India formally applied for membership to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June 2015, and with the active support of France and the United States officially became a member on June 27, 2016, the possibility of New Delhi being able to convince Washington to part or share this drone technology, appears to be bright.
It is being speculated that the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) is likely to be signed between the two countries during Parrikar's visit. The agreement was announced during Carter's visit in April this year. The United States is also likely to push its case for the manufacture of American fighter jet planed in India under the 'Make in India' initiative.
Parrikar may also bring up India's concerns over Pakistan's inaction against militant groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) as also the instability being created on the Indian side of Kashmir by Islamabad. The situation in Afghanistan and the threats posed by both the Taliban and ISIS may also be flagged.
This week's meetings in Washington appear to be a precursor to the seventh India-U.S. Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, which will be attended by Secretary of State John Kerry and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. This is Kerry's fourth visit to India as secretary. Representatives of 12 American agencies will also be in attendance.
Apart from meeting Carter, Parrikar will be paying a visit to 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon, the Cyber Command, Andrews Air Force Base and the Langley Air Force Base over the next two days.
He would also hold interactions with the US business industry associations in a bid to convince them to consider investing in India's defence sector.
On August 31, he will be visiting the Boeing facility in Philadelphia.