Time needed to discuss new terms of aircraft carrier : Adm Mehta

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Moscow, Mar 18 (UNI) Indian Navy Chief Adm Suresh Mehta, who is on a week-long-visit here, today said more time was needed to discuss the new terms of the contract to upgrade Admiral Gorshkov heavy aircraft carrier for India.

Adm Mehta made the statement after his visit to the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk city, Itar-Tass reported quoting the shipyard's press service.

He said both the sides were presently engaged in complicated talks on the financial issue, adding it took four years to sign the contract and would further take time to discuss new terms.

Adm Mehta arrived here on March 13 to hold talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Vysotsky on bilateral military cooperation and resolving the carrier issue.

Under the inter-governmental package agreement signed in New Delhi in January 2004, the hull of the carrier was turned over to the Indian side free on the condition that it would be modernised at Sevmash shipyard and supplied with 16 MiG-29K fighters.

Russia would also train the Indian crew for the aircraft carrier and create the infrastructure for the ship's basing in the Indian Ocean.

The contract's total value was initially estimated at 1.5 billion dollars. The ship would be reequipped into a full-scale aircraft carrier.

The carrier was to be delivered later this year. The new terms, including price escalation under negotiations, would result in Sevmash shipyard taking at least four more years to complete the retrofitting of the vessel.


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