India is negotiating a new military contract with Russia to buy 42 additional Su-30MKI fighter jets for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Both countries have been working on the $3bn deal for several months now, according to Ria Novosti.

India will acquire these new Su-30MKI jets to increase the number of fighter squadrons in the IAF, as well as to strengthen its defence capability.

Currently, about 100 Su-30MKIs have been deployed by the IAF at airbases close to the borders with China and Pakistan.

India has already purchased 230 Su-30 air-superiority fighters from Russia, in three deals worth $8.5bn.

India originally ordered 50 Su-30MKI aircraft from Russia in 1996-98 and an additional 40 planes in 2007.

Su-30MKI a twin-seater, multirole, long-range fighter, is a variant of the Su-30, which has been jointly developed by Russia’s Sukhoi Corporation and India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

According to analysts, the IAF will continue to buy the Russian-made combat aircraft for the next 15 years, with an aim to replace its aging Soviet MiG-21 aircraft.