India and France to sign multi-billion-dollar fighter jet deal

The Indian government has approved a multi-billion-dollar deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France's Dassault.

"[The deal] will be formally signed by the Indian and French defence ministers in New Delhi on Friday," an Indian government official said Thursday.

Details about the total cost and on defence hardware such as missiles the jets will be equipped with will be disclosed after the agreement is signed, the official said.

Broadcaster NDTV reported that the deal amounts to 7.8 billion euros (8.8 billion dollars) and is the first fighter jet deal for the Indian Air Force in 20 years.

In 2012, Dassault won an Indian contract for 126 Rafale fighters that was followed by protracted negotiations on the cost and assembly of the planes.

Three years later, both sides scaled down the original plan, with New Delhi agreeing to buy 36 Rafale jets in ready-to-fly condition to meet the urgent needs of the its air force.

India is in the process of modernizing its armed forces to keep up with neighbouring rivals Pakistan and China.

In recent years India has been ranked as one of the world's largest importers of military equipment by volume.

Last update: Thu, 22/09/2016 - 09:42

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