India’s recent acquisition of the world’s most dangerous drone, the MQ-9B High-Altitude Long Endurance drone, also known as the Predator drone, has raised concerns for China in deep seas and high-altitude areas. The deal between India and the United States was announced after a meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Joe Biden. This article explores the implications of India’s acquisition of this advanced drone and its impact on regional dynamics.
India’s Defense Boost: Acquisition of the Predator Drone
India has taken a significant step forward in enhancing its defense capabilities by finalizing the purchase of 31 MQ-9 Reaper drones from the United States. Out of these, 15 drones will be allocated to the Indian Navy, while the Indian Army and Indian Air Force will each receive 8 drones. The Predator drone’s advanced features and capabilities make it a formidable asset for India’s defense forces.
Strengthening Naval Surveillance: Indian Navy’s Strategic Advantage
The Indian Navy will benefit immensely from the acquisition of the Predator drones. With the largest surveillance area among the three forces, the Indian Navy faces the challenge of monitoring the vast Indian Ocean region. The addition of these drones will enhance the navy’s surveillance capabilities, allowing for more effective monitoring of the maritime area that extends approximately 5,000 kilometers from the East Coast and 8,000 kilometers from the West Coast.
Enhanced Border Security: Indian Army and Indian Air Force
The Indian Army and Indian Air Force will deploy the Predator drones along the Line of Control (LoC) with China and international borders, which are prone to infiltration from both the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Pakistan. These drones will enable operations to be conducted from control rooms, reducing the need for physical intervention and providing increased security along the borders.
Key Features of the Predator Drone
The Predator drone offers exceptional capabilities that contribute to India’s defense readiness. With a maximum altitude of 50,000 feet, it can fly continuously for up to 27 hours at a speed of 300 miles per hour. The drone’s range extends up to 1,900 kilometers in a single flight, providing extensive coverage. It is equipped with air-to-ground Hellfire missiles, laser-guided bombs, and air-to-air Stinger missiles, making it a highly versatile and lethal asset.
Implications for China: Concerns and Strategic Balance
China holds significant concerns about India’s acquisition of the Predator drone. The Indian Ocean region is vital for China’s energy trade, with 80% of its energy resources passing through this region. The presence of these advanced drones in India’s possession poses a threat to China’s trade routes and strategic interests. China’s worries increase as India’s defense capabilities are strengthened.
1. What is the significance of India’s acquisition of the Predator drone?
India’s acquisition of the Predator drone signifies a major boost to its defense capabilities. The drone’s advanced features, including long endurance, high altitude capability, and advanced weaponry, enhance India’s surveillance and response capabilities, strengthening its strategic presence in the region.
2. How many drones will India acquire, and how will they be allocated?
India will acquire a total of 31 MQ-9 Reaper drones, also known as Predator drones. Out of these, 15 drones will be allocated to the Indian Navy, while the Indian Army and Indian Air Force will each receive 8 drones.