India Friday signed a fresh agreement with Russia for the licensed production of 42 Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, for which the Russians will provide technical and equipment support.
The deal was among five pacts signed in Moscow after delegation-level talks between visiting Indian Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
The new deal comes a week after an Indian Air Force (IAF) Sukhoi Su-30MKI crashed near Pune in Maharashtra, following which the entire fleet of 120 planes in six squadrons has been grounded while the accident is investigated.
The fighter agreement was signed by Indian defence secretary Shashikant Sharma, who is part of the prime minister's delegation, and Russian federal service for military-technical cooperation director M A Dmitriev in the presence of Singh and Medvedev.
In the mid-1990s, India had signed an agreement with Russia for buying 50 twin-seat Sukhois off the shelf. Deliveries began in early 1997.
In 2000, the two sides had signed another deal for licensed production of 140 Su-30MKIs by state-owned defence undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).
In 2007, a protocol was envisaged for manufacture of a further 40 Sukhois.
"The present protocol envisaged manufacture of an additional 42 aircraft by HAL, taking the total Sukhois for the IAF to 272 planes," Sharma told IANS.