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Drone capacity of Pakistan and China alarms India

  India’s relationship with its neighbours - Pakistan and China has been confrontational for decades now. The ongoing conflicts with these countries have kept the Indian military officials concerned. Moreover, the drone strength of these two neighbouring countries has made India worried. If and when the unmanned surveillance capabilities of these two countries increase, it can prove it to be a major threat. There is enough reason for India and its allies to be alarmed by this development.
The employment of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones is a revolution in the making. Drone warfare is one of the most critical combat-strategy developments of this century. Compared to traditional warfare, drones are now considered as a powerful, effective and low-cost alternative weapon. Consequently, countries worldwide are in a race to acquire the most advanced armed drone fleet.
After the 9/11 attacks, the US was the first country to deploy Predator armed drones in Afghanistan. Since then, many countries like Israel, Turkey and China have been producing and exporting drones and UAVs.
Pakistan has expressed deep interest in acquiring TB2 drones from Turkey. It has already received 50 Wing Loong II armed drones from China. The Bayraktar TB2 armed drones from Turkey are now purchased by countries like Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Qatar and Libya. The substantial Turkish Bayraktar TB2 and Israeli Kamikaze drones have allowed Azerbaijan to decimate the Armenian ground forces and Russian air defence systems.
China is a significant player in the global drone market and exports its drones to other countries for military purposes. India’s neighbour, Pakistan is now being armed by China with advanced attack drones. There are reports of the two countries negotiating on joint production of some models. There are now several instances of Pakistani drones entering Indian airspace. The incidents are going to increase with time for sure.
In the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, we have clearly seen the decisive advantage attack drones could bring at any battlefield. Drone strikes by Azerbaijan targeted Armenian troops, destroying military installations and tanks. The air defence systems and artillery tilted the balance of the war in favour of the Turkey-backed country. The battle over Nagorno-Karabakh was unequivocal proof of the strategic advantage provided by armed drones to the militaries possessing them.
India is seriously concerned about China supplying arms to its neighbours. China has provided Pakistan with a range of weapons, which include weaponized UAVs. India has signed two critical pacts with the US – COMCASA in 2018 and BECA in 2020 to lease or buy advanced attack drones from the US. The Indian Navy has also equipped itself with two Predator drones leased from the American firm General Atomics. The MQ-9B Sea Guardian drones will be deployed for long-range missions over the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal.
With an endurance of 33 hours and the ability to fly 40,000 feet above sea level, MQ-9B drones are significant asset for the Navy to keep an eye on the vast ocean areas.
India is preparing to lease the US and Israel armed drones to boost its capability at the borders. India is also acquiring new advanced Heron drones on lease from Israel to keep an eye on the activities along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. So far, India has employed its Israel-imported Searcher and Harop drones only for surveillance and investigation purposes.
India is preparing itself with US, Israel and indigenous drones and Pakistan is turning to China and Turkey. We can clearly state now that we are entering into an era of drone race. UAVs and drones appear to be the future of warfare. It will usher in a new age of surveillance, counteracts to negate steps of the opposing nations. How far it will go and what impact it will have on the common citizen, only time can tell.



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