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PM Modi's US visit will really be historic: Vivek Lall

India and the US are expected to ink the deal for the acquisition of 31 Predator drones during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's maiden state visit to the US.

PM Modis US visit will really be historic: Vivek Lall

Chief Executive at General Atomics Global Corporation Vivek Lall (Photo: ANI)

WASHINGTON: Chief Executive at General Atomics Global Corporation, Vivek Lall, on Wednesday (local time) said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's State visit to the US is "historic" and a "watershed moment" as India is all set to purchase the Predator drones manufactured by the company.

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's arrival in Washington DC during his maiden State visit to the US, Vivek Lall, in an exclusive interview with ANI, said, "I think it is a watershed event for the PM this week in the US. I think this will really be a historic visit where both Governments, across sectors, will see a great catalyst for increased convergence and increased bilateral coordination and collaborations."

General Atomics is a defence and diversified technologies company that produces a series of unmanned aircraft (drones) and provides electro-optical, radar, signals intelligence, and automated airborne surveillance systems. Lall said the defence arena between the two countries has converged and will continue to converge in the future. "I see the defence arena has converged in the last few years very significantly and will continue to converge.

There are a lot of initiatives, a lot of foundational agreements in place. India has been designated as a major defence partner," he said. India and the US are expected to ink the deal for the acquisition of 31 Predator drones during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's maiden state visit to the US. India shares vast maritime and land boundaries with two major adversaries -- Pakistan and China -- and requires constant monitoring of their activities to safeguard its national security interests.

The Predators, also called the MQ-9 Reaper, can fly up to 36 hours at a stretch and can be used for focused monitoring of any specific point or area of interest. As many as 31 Predator drones, to be acquired by India from the US soon, would be operated by the tri-services jointly. Speaking to ANI, a senior defence official said, "The decision to buy 31 (Predator or Reaper) drones for taking care of complete surveillance requirements was taken after a scientific assessment."

"The Predator drones would be operated by a joint tri-services command, which will include officers and men from all three services. The proposal in this regard in the defence acquisition council was also sent by the tri-services headquarters," the official said. Indian personnel would also, very soon, be provided training to deal with the ground-station equipment and the birds, both in both India and the US where it is manufactured.

The Chief Executive of General Atomics, added, "So I do believe that as we stand here at Indo X event, which is for startups, it is a very great opportunity for innovation and technology to go to the next level in the industry for both sides. Whether startups or small, medium and large industries get together and take it to a new level".

The INDUS-X Summit is currently underway in Washington, DC. "During his keynote at INDUS X being hosted at US Chamber, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall states that the 'strategic logic' of US-India is 'imminently clear' and emphasizes that we have to seize the moment," tweeted US-India Business Council.

Meanwhile, PM Modi, on Wednesday, led a special Yoga session at the United Nations headquarters in New York City to mark the 9th edition of the International Day of Yoga. After overseeing the Yoga Day celebrations, PM Modi left for Washington DC where he will receive a ceremonial welcome at the White House on June 22.

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will host a State Dinner in honour of Prime Minister Modi the same evening.PM Modi will also address a joint sitting of the US Congress on the same day. On June 23, the Prime Minister will be jointly hosted at a luncheon by US Vice President Kamala Harris and the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

In addition to official engagements, Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to interact with leading CEOs, professionals, and other stakeholders. He will also meet members of the Indian diaspora.

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