Admiral Gorshkov to be delivered to India on schedule : Sibal

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Moscow, Sep 17 (UNI) Russia would deliver the heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov to India on schedule, said Indian ambassador to Russia Kanwal Sibal who left for India today, after completing his three-year term here.

''We have seen these reports about delay in maintaining the delivery schedule of Admiral Gorshkov, but we do not have to depend on these reports as we have a monitoring team in position at Sevmash since the inception of this project,'' Mr Sibal said in his last interview, in his ambassadorial capacity, to leading Russian business daily 'Kommersant'.

''We are well aware of what the situation is on the ground,'' he said, adding ''As of now, what we have in writing from the Russian side is that the project would be completed as per the delivery schedule.'' Referring to the next meeting of the Indo-Russian Joint Inter-Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation, scheduled to take place next month, he said India was aware that reassessment of the situation was now being made by the Russian side.

''At this meeting, if not before, we will know what exactly will be the extent of delay,'' Mr Sibal said emphasising that it was a very high-visibility and prestigious project and the delivery schedule was a sensitive matter for both sides.

On bilateral defence ties, he said the defence relationship between India and Russia, was the ''strongest pillar of our strategic partnership.'' ''Currently, 14.6 billion dollar worth of defence contracts, excluding Su-30 MKI and T-90 main battle tanks (MBT), are in various stages of implementation between the two countries,'' he added.

Several new large contracts, including multirole military transport aircraft (MTA) and development of fifth generation jet, were also in the offing, he mentioned.

'' Both countries have an interest in nurturing this relationship which is based on mutual trust,'' the ambassador noted.

UNI

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