NEW DELHI: India is to acquire a dozen Japanese US-2i amphibious aircraft , worth around Rs. 10,000 crore, ahead of PM Narendra Modi's visit to Tokyo on November 11-12 to further cement the bilateral strategic partnership.

While the inking of a civil nuclear cooperation agreement is likely to be the centerpiece of the meeting between Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, sources say the declaration of India's intention to acquire the US-2i aircraft is also going to be a major highlight of the summit.

Powered by four big turbo-props, the US-2i is capable of short take-offs from land as well as water. While basically meant for search and rescue operations, the US-2i can also rapidly transport 30 combat-ready soldiers to "hot zones" in an emergency.

Though the Navy has much more critical operational requirements ranging from submarines to multirole helicopters, the proposed US-2i deal is intended to send a strong signal to an increasingly belligerent China in the Asia-Pacific region, Times of India reported on Saturday.