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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Report: China Jet Deal May Pique New Delhi

Russia will deliver 100 jet engines to be used in Chinese fighters in a $267 million deal, Kommersant reported, citing an unnamed source in the Defense Ministry.

The deal could upset India, Russia's No. 2 arms client, as the Chinese fighters are destined for Delhi's regional rival Pakistan, the paper said. However, a clause in the agreement does not allow for the re-export of the engine, a defense official told Kommersant.

State-owned arms-selling agency Rosoboronexport has agreed to sell 100 RD-93 engines to equip China's new FC-1 single engine fighter, the newspaper said.

The fighter has been jointly developed by China, Pakistan, Israel and Russia's Mikoyan design bureau. Islamabad has signed up for 150 of the Chinese-built jets, according to Kommersant.

Rosoboronexport refused to comment on the report Tuesday, as did St. Petersburg-based engine designer Klimov's plant and the MiG Corp., whose subsidiary will produce the engine. A source within the aerospace industry confirmed that the engine deal was concluded in late March.

The timing of the deal could aggravate New Delhi, which already criticized the United States' announcement last month that it would sell 24 F-16 fighters to Pakistan.

But a clause in the agreement with China says that Russian engines will not be allowed to be re-exported to third countries, either by themselves or as components of aircraft, an unnamed source in the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation with Foreign Countries told Kommersant.

India accounts for 34 percent of Russia's arms exports and China for 49 percent, said Konstantin Makiyenko, deputy head of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.

Russia is expected to take part in an upcoming tender for 126 fighters for the Indian Air Force, where it will compete with France, the United States and Sweden.

The clause prohibiting the engine's re-export should make India safe, said Marat Kenzhetayev, an expert with the Center for Arms Control.

"Yet would Russia be able to ensure due control of possible re-exports? While the United States can execute both political and economic leverage, Russia's leverage on China will only stay as long as it continues to supply it weapons," he said.