Indian defense minister in Paris amid jet deal controversy

PARIS (AP) — India's defense minister is travelling to Paris amid controversy over a multi-billion dollar deal in which France will sell 36 fighter jets to India.

Nirmala Sitharaman will meet his French counterpart, Florence Parly, on Thursday evening.

The 2016 deal was for India to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France's Dassault for $8.78 billion.

The leader of India's main opposition Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, has accused Narendra Modi's government of buying the aircraft at a highly inflated price.

Gandhi also accused Modi's government of favoring the company owned by industrialist Anil Ambani, Reliance Group, when choosing an Indian partner for Dassault.

India's government has denied any wrongdoing.

Dassault Aviation said it "has freely chosen to make a partnership with India's Reliance Group" in a statement Wednesday.