The US has cleared the sale of 22 Guardian drones to India, government sources said on Thursday, a deal being termed as a "game changer" for bilateral ties ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's maiden visit to Washington for his meeting with President Donald Trump.
According to the informed government sources, the decision was communicated to the Indian government and the manufacturer by the State Department on Wednesday. The deal is estimated to be worth $2-3 billion.
"This is the first very significant sign of the Trump administration being more result oriented in its relationship with India compared to Obama administration," a source told PTI.
The sources, who requested anonymity as the deal has not been formally announced, said the sale of 22 predator drones being manufactured by General Atomics is "a game changer" for US-India relations as it operationalises the status of "major defence partner".
The designation of India being a "major defence partner" was decided by the previous Obama Administration, and formally approved by the Congress. The State Department and the White House did not immediately respond to the questions in this regard. An official announcement is expected soon.
The Indian Navy had made the request for this intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform last year.
US Aerospace expert Dr Vivek Lall of General Atomics, who was pivotal in India acquiring Boeing P8 ISR technology, is believed to have played a key role in fast tracking the decision-making process of the Trump administration.
PM Modi, who will be going to only Washington DC during his US trip, will hold talks with President Donald Trump on regional security situation as also ways to enhance cooperation in bilateral areas of strategic importance. In the US, he will attend a community event as well as a meeting with the business leaders.