As Modi prepares for Trump meeting, US expected to OK India drone purchase


NEW DELHI/WASHINGTON With the United States expected to authorize India’s purchase of naval drones, a senior White House official cautioned on Friday that any U.S. military transfer to India would not represent a threat to its rival neighbor Pakistan.

The official spoke to reporters in advance of U.S. President Donald Trump’s first meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, a White House visit that will include one-on-one talks and a working dinner.

Securing agreement on the purchase of 22 unarmed drones, worth more than $2 billion, is seen in New Delhi as a key test of defense ties that flourished under former President Barack Obama but have drifted under Trump, who has courted Asian rival China as he seeks Beijing’s help to contain North Korea’s nuclear program.

The U.S.-based company that makes the drones, General Atomics

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