India is set to become the first country since World War Two to buy a military aircraft from Japan, helping Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dismantle a ban on weapons exports that has kept his country’s defence contractors out of foreign markets.
The two countries are in broad agreement on a deal for the ShinMaywa Industries amphibious aircraft, which could amount to as much as $1.65 billion, Indian officials said on Tuesday. However, several details need to be worked out and negotiations will resume in March on joint production of the plane in India and other issues. New Delhi is likely to buy at least 15 of the planes, which are priced at about $110 million each, the officials said.
“Its a strategic imperative for both sides, and it has been cleared at the highest levels of the two governments,” said an Indian military source.
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