According to sources, some of the lethal drones developed by the United States, will be made easier to export to countries who are allies and accessories of the U.S., by the country’s President Donald Trump.
The policy is a part of a much larger picture that depicts the regulations of arms exportation, and was aimed at making the sales of the unmanned drones easier. It is only the first phase of the project, which was delayed by its expected imposition during the beginning of this month.
The change has been sought for quite vehemently by the Trump administration, as they have faced stiff competition from countries like China and Israel, who have been willing to sell the drones for cheaper prices and under more lenient regulations.
However, people supporting human rights and advocates of arms control have warned the administration about the dangers of the move, which include causing instability in countries in South Asia and Middle East, and also risking an increase in violent activities among nations. Trump, however, is keen on the move and has touted it as part of his plan to increase jobs in the United States and decreasing the trade deficit, with the introduction of the ‘Buy American’ initiative. It’s also being debated, as to how far and to which regions, the drones should be exported, which has delayed by months the announcement.
Jim Mattis, Secretary of Defense, in response to the delay, wrote to H.R. McMaster who’s the national security adviser of the President, and highlighted the loss that the country was suffering because of it. According to sources, he urged him to ask Trump to speed up the process to lessen the impact of the situation.
The sources also claimed, that the policy will particularly focus on the sale of smaller drones, and getting rid or minimizing the restrictions on them. These smaller drones are said to travel shorter distances, while carrying lesser missiles as compared to larger ones such as the Predator drone. However, leniency on regulations for the sale of all sizes of the surveillance drones, are also sought after by the administration.
United States has previously been cautious in selling drones to other countries, with a few exceptions, as it has been considered taboo by many. Trump sees this as a major step in overcoming that, although, he won’t be exporting the best quality drones which the U.S. is famous for.
Initially, the plan by the government was to only export ‘eye in the sky’ drones that are using for the purposes of tracking and targeting. But the sale of armed drones is now a key aspect, as the policy rules have been altered in a review that has now lasted over a year.
NATO members, Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and treaty allies such as South Korea and Japan are among the list of potential buyers with the highest priority, for the drones. Missile Technology Control Regime members such as Australia, Singapore and India are also reportedly in the mix.