Western governments are rushing to visit India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi, drawn by the prospect of multi-billion-dollar deals as the government prepares to open the nascent defence industry to foreign investment.
Senior politicians from France, the United States and Britain arrive over the next few weeks as Modi prepares to accelerate the modernisation of the country's mostly Soviet-era weaponry.
Modi intends to build up India's military capabilities and gradually turn the world's largest arms importer into a heavyweight manufacturer - a goal that has eluded every prime minister since independence in 1947.
On the table is a proposal circulated within the new government to raise caps on foreign investment - with one option to allow complete foreign ownership of some defence projects.
"All the countries are trying to make their case, especially as there is the sense that the Indian market will undergo a shift," said Harsh Pant, professor of international relations at King's College, London.
"They get a sense from their dealings that something dramatic is going to happen and they want first-mover advantage," said Pant, who specialises in Indian defence.
First to arrive in New Delhi will be French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, whose top priority is to close a stalled deal to sell India 126 Rafale fighter jets, built by Dassault Aviation , for an estimated $15 billion.
Fabius, who arrives on Monday, will meet Modi as well as his most powerful minister, Arun Jaitley, who holds the twin portfolios of defence and finance - and can therefore decide both whether to sign the deal and when to release the money.
U.S. Senator John McCain is also due in India next week. McCain, whose Arizona constituency is host to some of Boeing and Raytheon's most important defence businesses, told the Senate on Thursday that Washington should seek to help India's economic and military development.
"This is an area where U.S. defence capabilities, technologies, and cooperation - especially between our defence industries - can benefit India enormously," McCain said of India's drive to modernise the armed forces.
UK STILL HOPEFUL ON FIGHTER JET
Meanwhile Britain is likely to send in Foreign Secretary William Hague and finance minister George Osborne in July, a British government source said on Friday.
Britain has drawn some cheer from the slow progress of the negotiations for the Rafale deal. The multi-national Eurofighter Typhoon was shortlisted along with the Dassault fighter before India announced the French jet was the winner.
Cost escalations and disagreements about