India to sign fighter jet deal with Russia

Russia will supply more than two dozen MiG-29 fighter jets to India's navy in a $1.2 billion deal to be finalised this week, a defence ministry official said on Monday.

The proposed deal comes after the two countries agreed on a 10-year military pact in December to cover weapons development, aircraft and maintenance contracts worth more than $5 billion.

The agreement was signed during a trip to Russia by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, reflecting the former Cold War allies' desire to maintain a close defence relationship.

"The deal will be finalised during a visit by a high-level Russian defence team later this week," Sitanshu Kar, a defence ministry spokesman, said in New Delhi.

The navy plans to buy 29 MiG-29 planes.

Russia will also lease to India in 2010 its new Nerpa nuclear-powered submarine, Russian defence officials and Indian naval officers said earlier this month.

Russia, India's close economic and political partner since Soviet days, is one of the world's major arms exporters.

During talks in the capital later this week, Indian defence officials will ask the Russian delegation to speed up delivery of pending military equipment, another defence official said.

New Delhi also complains of delays in supply of a refitted aircraft carrier, resulting in huge cost overrun and affecting military planning.

 

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