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South-east Asia drone sales may raise terror risks

Friday, March 13, 2015

Subject

Drone sales to South-east Asia.

Significance

Washington announced last month that it will lift its ban on selling armed/lethal unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or 'drones') to allies and security partners. This decision has South-east Asian implications: many US allies and interests are there. South-east Asia also has a significant appetite for unarmed drones. Consequently, the region is becoming a fruitful ground for sales and use of both types of UAV. However, this brings mixed security implications.

Impacts

  • China will compete with major drone vendors the United States, the EU and Israel for South-east Asian sales.
  • South-east Asian governments will update their laws to incorporate drone-related considerations.
  • Authoritarian governments will probably attempt to control the use of drones by the media and civil society.
  • ASEAN countries will expand domestic drone production, especially under the ASEAN Economic Community.
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