- Associated Press - Friday, September 23, 2016

NEW DELHI (AP) - India has signed an $8.78 billion deal with France to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets in “ready to fly” condition, meaning the planes would be made in France.

The agreement was signed Friday by India’s Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar and his visiting French counterpart Jean Yves Le Drian to replace older planes in the Indian air force.

The first of the aircraft will be delivered in three years and the last in 5½ years.

India has become the world’s biggest arms importer, with an economic boom enabling it to modernize its military. Major arms manufacturers are wooing the country as it replaces its obsolete Soviet-era weapons and buys new equipment.

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