NEW DELHI: French aerospace and defence major Thales Group is betting big on India — especially the emerging drone space here — and has decided to invest a billion euros (about $1.2 billion) in the country over the next five years. Its drone offerings — that range from manufacturing to traffic management and countering rogue drones — will account for a significant part of this planned mega investment. India currently has 6 lakh drones, a number that the French major expects will rise at least six times in 5-8 years. “Our solutions allow civil and military aviation authorities to detect — even without data transmission — and verify a drone’s registration number, identify its pilot, and confirm its flight authorisation, all in a few seconds. By the same time, to cope with unexpected or non-registered drones, detection and classification are the first steps before engaging a graduated response,” Ashish Saraf, Thales India VP & country director, told TOI.