NEW DELHI – India on Friday signed a formal agreement to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets from France against $8.8 billion.

The deal was signed in New Delhi where Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian represented their respective countries.

Observers have termed the Indo-French deal New Delhi’s biggest defence deal in recent decades. Both countries held long rounds of negotiations to reach the agreement.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francoise Hollande signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) related to the deal in January this year. President Hollande had arrived in New Delhi as chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations.

Earlier in April last year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced to buy Rafale fighter jets directly from France after a meeting with President Francoise Hollande in Paris.