As Obama’s tenure draws to an end, India attempts to expedite the Predator drone aircraft deal with the United States.
In June, India had requested for 22 Predator Guardian drones for military surveillance from US and now, both nations seek to accelerate the deal so, by the time President Barack Obama leaves office, only administrative tasks remain.
Obama’s growing affinity with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has enabled US to become the leading supplier for arms in India, with another billion dollar nuclear deal between the two nations in the cards.
Although India had also requested for armed drones, export control laws of the US forbid such a deal.
The ‘America First’ policy of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has caused Asian nations to be wary of a possible withdrawal from the US. According the Trump’s policy, allies of the US like, Japan and South Korea should shell out more money for defence.
According to a New York Times report from March, Trump had claimed that he could initiate the withdrawal of US troops from military bases in Asian allied nations.
Walid Phares, who was chosen Trump as an expert on terrorism, counter-terrorism, and Middle Eastern Affairs has said that the said policy should not be a worrisome issue for India.
“With India, there is the ongoing partnership against terror and both countries have suffered from jihadi urban attacks. One can only project cooperation,” Reuters reported Phares saying.
Narendra Modi now seeks to establish links with both presidential candidates with the help of Indian diaspora.
Manoj Ladwa, a political strategist based in London deems Trump’s behaviour as “contradictory” and “unpredictable”. Ladwa, who was a communications director for Modi’s 2014 campaign, said, “His unpredictability is worrisome in a world that requires steady and mature statesmanship.”