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Russia Proposes India Buy Su-30 Fighter Jets Instead of French Rafales

India is one of Russia's largest arms customers, buying heavy equipment ranging from fighter jets to submarines and even an old Soviet-built aircraft carrier.

Russia has offered India additional Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets after reports surfaced Monday that India may cancel a $20 billion contract with France for its Rafale warplanes, news agency RIA Novosti reported Tuesday, citing an executive at Russia's arms export agency.

"If they need additional Su-30MKI fighters, then we are ready to work out such an agreement," Rosoboronexport Deputy Director Sergei Goreslavsky was quoted as saying in an interview with RIA Novosti published Tuesday.

"This requires a request from the Indian side," added Goreslavsky, who is representing Rosoboronexport as the head of Russia's delegation to the Aero India 2015 air show. The exhibition opens in Bangalore, India on Wednesday.

India is one of Russia's largest arms customers, buying heavy equipment ranging from fighter jets to submarines and even an old Soviet-built aircraft carrier.

However, India in 2012 chose France's Rafale fighter jets over Russia's prototype MiG-35 in a massive $10 billion tender — one of the largest aerospace deals in history.

Russia has since lobbied to have India drop the deal, which has been stuck in negotiations for three years and swollen to a price of $20 billion.

On Monday, Indian newspaper Business Standard reported that India's defense ministry now considers the deal "effectively dead," after learning that France's Dassault misled India on the real cost of outfitting and operating the fighters over their operational lifetime.

France's failure to deliver the first of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers to the Russian navy last year might have also contributed to India's distancing itself from the Rafale deal, news agency TASS reported a representative of state defense concern Rostec as saying on Tuesday.

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