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10 Jan, 2020 06:27

India considers tightening drone policy after Soleimani's death in US airstrike – report

India considers tightening drone policy after Soleimani's death in US airstrike – report

Indian officials are alarmed by new security risks arising from the use of UAVs after a US drone strike killed Iranian military commander, Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad.

The country's authorities are considering an update to recently adopted regulations on drones, which are due to take effect this month, the Indian Express reported on Friday, citing two high-ranking government sources.

"There is a realization of the need to up the guard [on who gets licenses]… there will be a step back on that," a source said, explaining that the existing drone policy requires "careful reassessment, given the new risks."

According to the report, the authorities were alarmed by the drone attack on two Saudi oil refineries in September, which temporarily crippled the country's oil production, and last week's US drone strike that killed several senior Iranian and Iraqi officials, including Major General Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force. It is believed that the strike on Soleimani was carried out by an MQ-9 Reaper spy and combat UAV.

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Soleimani's death sparked a new flare-up between Iran and the US. Tehran retaliated in response to the assassination by launching missiles at military bases that house US troops in Iraq.

New Delhi has been taking steps to create a comprehensive drone policy, which classifies UAVs and sets up a nationwide database of drone owners. Under the new rules, all UAV operators must register with the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

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