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Jakarta, Indonesia | Indonesia signed a deal with France Thursday to buy six Rafale warplanes as part of an anticipated total order of 42, Jakarta's defence minister said, as Paris bolsters military ties in the Asia-Pacific.
"We agreed on the purchase of 42 Rafale. The contract signed today is for the first six, which will be followed by 36 others," said Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto.
It was the latest sign of warming ties between Jakarta and Paris, as France rethinks its alliances in the region following the collapse in September of a multibillion-dollar Australian submarine deal.
Paris was left furious by the debacle, saying it had been given no warning that Canberra was negotiating a new defence pact with the US and Britain, named AUKUS.
Indonesia's first order for French warplanes comes as Jakarta replaces an ageing fleet -- consisting mainly of American F-16s and Russian Sukhois -- amid growing concerns about rising US-China tensions in Asia.