India may buy unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, from other countries if the United States does not ease current export restrictions on such aircraft, a key Democratic senator said on Friday.
Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, who will join President Barack Obama during a trip to India on Jan. 26, said he was concerned that other countries could rush in to sell India the equipment it desires if the United States drags its feet.
“This is going to be a space … where other countries are moving very quickly too,” he told an event hosted by the nonprofit Atlantic Council. “If the Indians can’t find a partner with the United States, they’ll find one somewhere else.”
U.S. aerospace and arms companies have been pressing the U.S. government for years to ease current tight restrictions on foreign sales of unmanned vehicles, arguing that other countries such as Israel are overtaking the United States in drone sales.
India, which is modernizing its military, is a big and growing market for U.S. weapons makers who are seeking foreign sales to help offset declines in U.S. defense spending.