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UAE telecom operator, Etisalat, is close to buying a 26 per cent stake in the second most successful Indian telecoms firm Reliance Communications.

"We are talking to several Indian operators and are evaluating several Indian operators but have not reached a final decision," said Mohammad Omran, Etisalat chairman.

According to the Financial Times, the deal is estimated to be worth US$3 billion and the two groups are considering merging Reliance with Swan Telecom, the Indian company in which Etisalat holds a 45 per cent stake.