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India might not get its Russian aircraft carrier

India might not get its Russian aircraft carrier 21.02.2008
The aircraft carrier “Admiral Gorshkov” has become the centrepiece of a military scandal in Russian-Indian relations. Now, Russia might end up not selling the vessel to the Indian Navy, after all.

The “Admiral Gorshkov” is currently under reconstruction at the Sevmash plant in Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk Oblast.

A source in the Russian military establishment confirms to RBC.ru that Russia and India currently are trying to re-negotiate an agreement from 2004, according to which India was to take over the vessel after an upgrade process in 2008.

The two countries might however not be able to agree about the issue. According to the defence source, Russian authorities demand that India pay about one billion USD extra for the vessel. India on the other hand demands the takeover of the vessel as agreed upon in 2004.

Should the parts fail to agree, Russia is likely to return the aircraft carrier to its Navy.

Russia and India in 2004 signed a contract on the Indian free-of-charge takeover of the vessel. Part of the deal was about 800 million USD upgrade of the vessel, to take place at the Sevmash construction plant in Severodvinsk.

The military order was to be fulfilled in the course of 2008. However, now the Sevmash plant says the aircraft carrier – now named “Vikramâditya” – will be completed only in 2012, and become more than two times more expensive than anticipated.

India is among Russia’s strategic partners and is said to have paid already more than 400 million USD for the “Vikramâditya”. Head of the Indian Navy Sureesh Mehta has previously said that India already considers the vessel part of its fleet and that it does not intend to renegotiate the contract with Russian Armed Forces.

The construction of the “Admiral Gorshkov” was started in 1978. The vessel was completed in 1986 after which it served only eight years before it was retired in 2002.

Source: www.barentsobserver.com, photo: The "Admiral Gorshkov" (sevmash.ru)

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