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Advanced Heron drones arrive from Israel, being deployed in Ladakh to deter China

Israel has been supplying various state-of-art the weapon systems, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles to India in recent years (Image and video courtesy: Israel Aerospace Industries/IAI)

The Indian Army has acquired advanced Heron drones from Israel, giving a major boost to surveillance operations in the eastern Ladakh sector where they are being deployed amid the ongoing India-China border tensions.

The acquisition of these drones has been done under the emergency financial powers granted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government to the defence forces.

These financial powers were given for both routine as well as emergency procurements with the aim to reduce procurement time-frames and enhance defence preparedness.

The delivery of the drones, reported Hindustan Times quoting news agency ANI, was delayed by a few months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"These drones are operational now and are far more advanced than the Herons in the existing inventory and their anti-jamming capability is much better than their previous versions," the report mentioned quoting a top government source as saying that the new equipment is being deployed for surveillance operations in the eastern Ladakh sector.

India has been one of the biggest buyers of Israel's military hardware. Israel has been supplying various state-of-art the weapon systems, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles to India in recent years.

Both countries have recently signed an agreement to jointly develop next-generation technologies and products such as drones, robotics, artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

The Modi government, meanwhile, continues to undertake a number of projects as part of its 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' initiative to strengthen the defence sector and ensure strategic independence.

This includes the structural and organisational reforms in the defence sector, including corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board; setting up of defence corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu; increase in Foreign Direct Investment and draft Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had handed over two drones for surveillance and logistical support to the Army while laying the foundation stone of the first project of the Jhansi node of the UP Defence Industrial Corridor.

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