Washington, United States:
The Trump administration eased control over the export of armed drones on Friday, declaring that allies need US technology and that other countries are taking over the market outside of a non-proliferation pact.
The White House announced that President Donald Trump had approved a move that partially differs from the 1987 missile technology control regime, in which 35 countries had agreed to restrict the sale of unmanned weapons delivery systems.
The MTCR aimed to control the spread of missiles that could deliver a large payload like nuclear weapons.
But it also included armed drones, which at the time were not an integral part of the armed conflict as they are now.
The change ordered by Trump will reclassify armed drones from technologies whose exports are strictly limited to a category that can be checked on a case-by-case basis.
The drones in this category must have a maximum airspeed of less than 800 kilometers per hour to sell the Reaper and Predator drones used by the U.S. military, as well as other drones manufactured by U.S. defense manufacturers.
"The standards of the MTCR are more than three decades old," the White House said in a statement.
"Not only do these outdated standards offer countries outside the MTCR an unfair advantage and harm US industry, they also hinder our ability to deter internationally by hindering our partners and allies with below-average technology."
The White House statement said two years of talks had not reformed the MTCR.
The move has troubled arms control advocates who say US sales of advanced drones to more countries could fuel the global arms race.
"The Trump administration has again weakened international export controls for deadly drones," said Senator Bob Menendez in a statement.
"This ruthless decision makes it more likely that we will export some of our deadliest weapons to human rights abusers around the world," he said.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)