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US will work with India to build drones with an eye on China.

The United States and India will jointly develop drones, a top Pentagon official revealed on Thursday, as Washington seeks closer relations with Delhi to ward off China.

According to this official, India would manufacture these drones and export them to neighbouring countries.

Delhi aspires to expand its own defence sector while diversifying its munitions, which are mostly made in Russia.

Eli Ratner, assistant secretary of defence for Indo-Pacific security affairs, told a group of media and defence experts, ‘And we want to support India on both fronts and are doing so.’

Ratner explained that this would entail tight collaboration with India in order to co-produce and co-develop capabilities that would help India’s own defence modernization objectives.

Following that, India will be able to ‘export to our partners across the region, especially in South and Southeast Asia, at competitive prices.’

Ratner emphasised the possibilities for developing anti-drone defence systems as well as drones that are launched from aircraft.

He said that the Pentagon is looking into ‘options to co-produce important capabilities’ in the short and medium term, although he did not specify which ones.

Long-standing tensions between India and the United States were eased under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former President Donald Trump, who both shared a concern of an assertive China.

After designating India as a ‘major defence partner’ in 2016, the two nations have subsequently negotiated agreements to make it easier to transfer high-end weapons and expand their military cooperation.

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