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India to buy 80 choppers from Russia
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 04, 2008
First Published: 00:57 IST(4/12/2008)
Last Updated: 00:59 IST(4/12/2008)

India would buy 80 medium-lift Mi-17 helicopters from Russia for Rs. 6,500 crore, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) decided on Tuesday.

A senior official, who preferred anonymity, said on Wednesday that the latest version of the Mi-17 choppers, the main troop-movers for the Indian Army, would join an existing fleet of 200 Mi-17s.

The CCS's decision to buy the choppers and renegotiate the terms of the Gorshkov aircraft carrier deal came two days before the arrival of Russian President Dimitry Medvedev to India.

The helicopters are also used by the armed forces for logistical support as well as during disaster-management situations.  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will host Medvedev, who lands in New Delhi on Thursday, to a private dinner before having formal talks with him on Friday.

A framework deal to purchase nuclear reactors and fuel is at the top of the agenda for Medvedev after the Nuclear Suppliers' Group lifted restrictions on its 45 members in September from engaging in civil nuclear with India.

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