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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

India Inks $1Bln Il-76 Deal

NEW DELHI, India -- India signed a $1 billion deal Friday to buy Russian surveillance planes outfitted with Israeli-made radar systems -- a purchase that rival Pakistan warned would upset the balance of power in South Asia.

The deal, finalized during a visit to India last month by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, was signed Friday morning, Indian Defense Ministry spokesman Amitabha Chakrabarti said.

Price negotiations are still in progress for the deal, estimated to be worth about $1 billion, said an Indian Defense Ministry official speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Israelis are to buy the Russian-made Il-76 transport planes from Uzbekistan. They will be sent to Russia for the installation of new high-powered engines after structural modification, the official said.

The aircraft will then be sent to Israel, where state-of-the-art avionics and Phalcon airborne early-warning systems will be mounted on them, he said.

India's Defense Secran detect aerial threats and serve as a platform to direct Indian combat jets to targets.

Defense sources in Israel say the trilateral deal was delayed for more than a year while Russia tried to negotiate better terms and India sought assurances that there would be no-last minute objections from Moscow after the deal was signed.