India Approves Purchase of 33 Russian Fighter Jets,

India’s defense ministry Thursday signed off on the purchase of 33 Russian fighter jets and upgrades to 59 others. Worth $2.4 billion, the deal came amid rising tensions with nuclear-armed neighbor China.

The purchase of 21 MiG-29 and 12 SU-30 MKI, as well as upgrades to 59 existing MiG-29s, was to “augment” the Indian Air Force’s combat squadrons, the ministry of defense said. New and additional missile systems to be manufactured in India were also commissioned for all three branches of the military.

The beefing up of New Delhi’s defense capabilities was taken due to “the need to strengthen the armed forces to protect our borders and Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s call for “self-reliant India,” the ministry added in a statement.

The announcement followed Modi’s phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, where he “warmly congratulated” the president after a nationwide vote on constitutional reforms that could allow him to extend his rule until 2026. Läs artikel