General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics that provides Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and radar solutions for the US military and commercial applications worldwide, plans to open an office in the Indian capital of New Delhi.

CEO of the armed drones manufacturing company Linden Blue has said that the Barrack Obama administration recently asked GA-ASI to discuss the issue with the Indian government before finalising the project. With this announcement, Blue fuelled the speculation that India is all set to acquire state of the art armed drones from the US.

Speaking at a press conference in San Diego, California on Wednesday, the CEO said: “We are looking forward to continuing to enhance our co-operation with India by working with the US government to provide the Indian Navy with persistent, operationally proven maritime domain awareness.” He also informed the press that GA-ASI would provide the Indian Navy with Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions.

Earlier, GA-ASI issued a statement in which it recognised the importance of India as an important market and wished to work more closely with the Narendra Modi government from its new office in New Delhi. According to the statement, the new office will make it easier for GA-ASI to increase collaboration with India in different areas of maritime security.

Indian defence experts believe that New Delhi made the job easy for the American company by joining the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June. Soon after setting up the office, GA-ASI will try to sell 22 Guardian Predator aircraft to India, according to sources close to the American company.

The US forces are using armed drones against Taliban guerrillas in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan. Israel, Britain and Nigeria, too, used armed drones in the past. Although India plans to deploy armed drones in its border areas with Pakistan mainly to combat terrorism, the Modi government has made no immediate comment on Blue’s announcement.

Koushik Das, based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is a senior news editor with more than 15 years of experience. He also runs a blog - Boundless Ocean of Politics. E-Mail: [email protected]