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Initial reports claiming the US Congress blocked a $3.1 billion drone sale to India have been refuted. India’s Ministry of Defence now expects to receive the Letter of Acceptance (LoA) from the Biden administration soon, paving the way for the delivery of 31 MQ-9B Sea Guardian drones.

News circulated suggesting the US Congress blocked the drone sale due to concerns regarding India’s cooperation on American CIA assets and alleged involvement on Plot to kill US-based pro-Khalistani activist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. However, these reports have been deemed inaccurate.

The Indian government anticipates receiving the LoA by March 2024, indicating smooth progress in the deal. The 31 drones will be divided among the Indian Navy (15 Sea Guardians), Air Force (8), and Army (8).

Officials from both nations await Washington’s response to India’s Letter of Request (LoR) before finalizing the agreement. The drones will be supplied by General Atomics, a US-based defense company.

With the LoA expected shortly and final negotiations anticipated, the delivery of these drones appears imminent. This acquisition marks a significant milestone in India’s defense modernization efforts and reinforces its strategic ties with the US.

Details of the Deal:

  • Number and Distribution: The deal involves 31 MQ-9B drones, including 15 Sea Guardian variants for the Indian Navy and eight each for the Air Force and Army.
  • Procurement and Timeline: The drones will be procured through a government-to-government framework from General Atomics, a US-based defense company, with delivery expected by March 2024.
  • Final Negotiations: Both countries await Washington’s response to India’s Letter of Request (LoR) before finalizing the deal.

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