India, Russia to discusss Gorshkov deal

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New Delhi, Feb 7 (UNI) The much-delayed Admiral Gorshkov deal will be high on agenda of talks between India and Russia during the visit of Russian Prime Minister Victor Zhubkov here on February 12, sources said today.

Mr Zhubkov, who will be in India on his maiden visit, will be heading a large business delegation. He will attend the second bilateral Business Forum and inaugurate the year of Russia in india.

The sources, while admitting that the Gorshkov deal was a ''difficult problem'' for both countries, said it was signed when the Russian ship building industry was in an ''awful'' position as the country was moving from a centralised economy to market economy.

The prices fixed for the aircraft carrier were low and ''unrealistic''. Moreover, the ship was built in Ukraine and Russian shipbuilders did not have enough documentation to go to Ukraine.

''The problems accumulated to a situation where we were not able to supply,'' they said but asserted that ''Russia has not given up its obligation.'' In a setback to the Indian Navy plan to acquire Admiral Gorshkov after phasing out the INS Viraat, Russia last year demanded additional 1.2 billion US dollars for the retrofitting process on the aircraft carrier, rechristened INS Vikramaditya.

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