India approves Rafale fighter jet deal: defence source

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New Delhi (AFP)

India's cabinet committee on security approved Wednesday the purchase of 36 fighter jets from France's Dassault, a senior defence ministry official said.

"The deal was approved at the meeting in the evening. It will now be formally signed by Indian and French defence ministers on September 23 in New Delhi," the senior official told AFP.

The official said that other details including the exact amount and formalities "will become clear after the signing event".

Recent local media reports have said the Indian government has agreed to pay around $8.8 billion for the long-delayed deal.

The purchase of Rafale jets, to replace part of the country's ageing air force fleet, was first mooted in 2012 and signed off in January.

India entered exclusive negotiations on buying 126 Rafale jets four years ago, but the number of planes was scaled back in tortuous negotiations over the cost and assembly of the planes in India.