Kitty Hawk torpedoes Russia-India friendship: Izvestia warns

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Moscow, Feb 26 (UNI) The likely US offer of the Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier and its acceptance by India, will torpedo the friendship between India and Russia, reports today said.

During his current visit to New Delhi, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates would formally offer the Kitty Hawk and stressed if India accepted the offer, it would bury the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier deal and also MiG-29 fighter contracts, daily Izvestia reported.

''The only condition that goes together with this 'present' is that the Indian Government should buy 65 newest F/A 18E/F carrier-based fighters. The other condition is not voiced but implicit: Delhi should turn down the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov,'' the paper said.

The paper pointed out that India was implementing a large-scale programme for re-equipping its armed forces and was ready to invest 30 billion dollars in it.

The USA, France and Israel were already fighting for this ''pie'' it said, adding companies such as Boeing, Dassault, Eurofighter, Lockheed Martin were taking part in the tender for the delivery of 126 multirole combat fighters.

Russia is featuring Su-35 fighters in the tender. The cost of the contract will be more than 10 billion dollars.

Delhi, being a major buyer of Russian weapons, recently has been very dissatisfied with the quality and terms of performance on the concluded agreements.

''India has already turned down the proposal for buying anti-submarine aircrafts. Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier contract is on the verge of break-off,'' Izvestia said.

Within the framework of bilateral cooperation, a few large contracts are presently being implemented, including licensed production of Su-30MKI fighters, T-90S tanks in India and delivery of Smerch multiple launch rocket systems.

''If the initiative of President George Bush ruins these plans, the military and technical cooperation Between Moscow and Delhi will drop to the level of mere after-sales follow-up of the hardware delivered to India before,'' the paper said.

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