WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement on his approval of the sale of MQ-9 drones to India, following assurances from the administration about steps taken to address recent allegations of transnational repression.
“My approval of this sale was the result of months of painstaking discussions with the Biden administration. While I’m fully aware of the significance of this sale for U.S. national security and strategic interests, I have consistently conveyed my concerns regarding the timing of this sale to administration officials in light of the alleged murder-for-hire plot involving Indian officials to attempt to assassinate an American citizen on U.S. soil. I have been assured by the Administration that the Indian government is committed to thoroughly investigating the situation and fully cooperating with the U.S. Department of Justice investigation so that there is credible accountability in this case. As the Chairman of this committee, I fully intend to hold the Administration to these commitments.
“The U.S.-India partnership plays a key role in Indo Pacific stability, including through regional mechanisms such as the Quad. I support deepening our bilateral relationship with India as long as that partnership is based on mutual trust and respect. Championing human rights and democratic values globally is one of my top priorities. Progress on these issues requires difficult discussions about our own democracy, as well as discussions with our closest allies and friends. I will continue raising human rights issues with the Administration, as well as our Indian counterparts, because I believe that our shared values are fundamental to the growth and longevity of our partnership.”