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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Serdyukov Secures Arms Deal in India

APDefense Minister Serdyukov attending a press conference with his Indian counterpart in New Delhi on Monday.
NEW DELHI — India will buy 347 T-90 battle tanks from Russia and build 1,000 more locally with Russian help, India's defense minister said Monday, as the countries decided to iron out differences that had delayed several arms deals.

India, one of the world's biggest arms buyers, and Russia, a longtime supplier, also agreed to speed up delivery of an aircraft carrier that had been slated for 2012, a defense official said.

The announcement came after a meeting between Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony, who said the two countries had also decided to extend a defense-cooperation deal by another 10 years.

India is moving closer to the West in a challenge to traditional ally and supplier Russia. European and U.S. firms are bidding for India's $10 billion deal to buy 126 fighter jets, one of the biggest arms contracts in the world.

In 2004, India and Russia had signed a $1.6 billion deal to bring the carrier Admiral Gorshkov to India by 2008. India may now have to pay an extra $1.2 billion for the carrier's refitting costs.

"The Indian side has considered the Russian demand for an escalation in price … the same has been considered and would be placed before the cabinet for consideration," Antony said in a statement.

India plans to spend $30 billion over the next four years to modernize its largely Soviet-era arms.

They agreed to speed up pending projects, including delivery of Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, battle tanks, stealth frigates and missile destroyers, officials said.

While analysts say Russia was delaying some arms deliveries due to uneasiness about India's growing ties with the United States, India says Russia is still their tried and tested friend.