India buys Russia's 40 Sukhoi-30 fighter jets

India will purchase 40 Russian-made Sukhoi-30 fighter jets, an air force spokesman said Thursday.

"The government has cleared the proposal to buy the Sukhoi planes and we'll be getting them shortly," Wing Commander Mahesh Upasani said.

He had no details about the cost of the planes or an exact date for their arrival.

India had previously said it was shopping for 126 fighter jets for its air force, but Upasani said the Sukhoi-30 purchase wasn't part of that.

On Wednesday, Defense Minister A.K. Anthony said the country would soon invite bids from combat aircraft makers for the 126 jets. That deal is estimated to be worth between US$6.5 billion and US$10 billion (EUR 5.4 billion and EUR 8.3 billion). Anthony's comments were made at the opening of an air show in the southern technology hub of Bangalore.

India also is considering buying nearly 200 army reconnaissance and observation helicopters, Anthony said.

Aviation companies from around the world have flocked to the air show, hoping for a piece of the billions of dollars in defense contracts the South Asian country plans to spend in modernizing its military, the AP reports.

The five-day event at the Yelahanka air base has drawn 500 companies, including 275 foreign companies, more than ever before, Defense Production Secretary K.P. Singh told reporters.

Forty-five foreign delegations and 28 air force chiefs are also attending the biennial show, which comes as India is emerging as one of the biggest buyers of military hardware in the global market.

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