(Economictimes):US President Barack Obama's visit next month could bring some good tidings for the Indian skies, both in hinterland and along the border, with Delhi planning to acquire Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from America.
With defence trade and joint production as key talking points during the visit, UAVs are among the items that the two sides are looking to co-produce and co-develop, official sources indicated.
This is part of the Indo-US Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) that would receive a fillip during the Obama visit. The bilateral political-military dialogue last week in Delhi prepared the ground work for DTTI discussions for the presidential visit, sources informed.
Besides, the appointment of Ashton Carter as US Defence Secretary would be good news for DTTI. It was Carter who as Deputy Defence Secretary initiated DTTI and pushed for defence exports and discussed joint production during his visits to Delhi in 2012 and 2013.
Currently, India has few UAVs. But sources pointed out that the government is likely to give a major push to induction of UAVs in armed forces, which could be either made at home or acquired from foreign players. Delhi could end up spending $3 billion for UAVs of different sizes, range and parameters catering to varied specific requirements over the next decade, according to defence experts.
Last June, Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Frank Kendall, had told reporters in Washington that the US has a number of "ground breaking" defence technologies, including UAVs, to offer India for co-development and co-production.