India’s defence ministry has given initial approval to purchase 26 Rafale fighter jets for its navy and three Scorpene class submarines, ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s arrival in France, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said.

Modi began a two-day visit to Paris on Thursday to deepen ties with New Delhi’s oldest strategic partner in the West, with a slew of high-profile defence deals expected and a new joint plan to ensure stability in the Indo-Pacific.

The Singh-led Defence Acquisition Council, the apex body for military capital procurements, granted the approvals earlier in the day.

The deal will cover the purchase of 26 Dassault Aviation AM.PA Rafale fighter jets, including four trainers, and three Scorpene class submarines to be built by India’s Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders MAZG.NSand France’s Naval Group, two sources familiar with the details told Reuters.

The total value of the purchases is expected to be around 800 billion rupees ($9.75 billion), according to one of the sources. The government did not provide any cost figures, saying the prices are yet to be negotiated.

In the past few years, Modi has ramped up spending to modernise the military, while underlining his government’s commitment to boosting domestic production to supply forces deployed along two contentious borders with Pakistan and China.

Earlier this year, the government proposed a 13 per cent hike in defence spending to 5.94 trillion rupees for the 2023-24 financial year.

The ageing fleet of India’s Russian-made platforms, Moscow’s inability to perform maintenance work, and delays in India’s indigenous manufacturing plans for parallel platforms have necessitated the two new defence deals.

The marine version of Dassualt’s Rafale jets, intended for India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier commissioned last year, outperformed the American Superhornet F18s in tests last year for Indian requirements.

Singh said in a tweet that the “price and other terms of purchase will be negotiated with the French Government after taking into account all relevant aspects, including comparative procurement price of similar aircraft by other countries”.

India has relied on French fighter jets for four decades now. Much before buying Rafale in 2015, India bought Mirage jets in the 1980s, which still comprise two squadrons of the air force.

In 2005, India bought six Scorpene-class diesel submarines from France for 188 billion rupees ($2.29 billion), the last of which will be commissioned next year.

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