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September 22, 2015 5:44 pm

UAV Strides by Pakistan and China Spur India to Expedite Israeli Drone Purchase

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The Heron Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) takes off from the Comalapa airport runway during a counterdrug support mission May 21. The Heron UAV is part of an Unmanned Air System (UAS) deployed to El Salvador through May 27 to support a month-long evaluation initiative called Project Monitoreo to assess the suitability of using unmanned aircraft for counterdrug missions in the U.S. Southern Command area of focus. (Photo by Jose Ruiz, U.S. Southern Command Public Affairs)

The Heron Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV). Photo: Jose Ruiz, U.S. Southern Command Public Affairs. – India has accelerated plans to purchase Israeli drones that can be armed amid concerns regarding its conflict with Pakistan over Kashmir and its border dispute with China. Just weeks ago, Pakistan was reported to have used a domestically manufactured drone while attacking militants on its soil.

An Indian defense source said that while the plan to buy Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) was first established three years ago, India has asked Israel for a speedy delivery in the wake of both Pakistan and China developing their own drone capabilities. India has already purchased and deployed some Israeli drones along the Kashmir mountains for surveillance, and along its disputed border with China.

In September, the Indian government approved the purchase of 10 Heron TP drones from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) that can be equipped with weapons, according to an Indian air force official.

The former head of the government-funded Center for Land Warfare Studies in New Delhi, Gurmeet Kanwal, said the Israeli-purchased Heron drones that will enter into Indian service by 2016 will allow India to conduct deeper strikes, Reuters reported.

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