Russia, India close to deal on Admiral Gorshkov : Report

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Moscow, May 28 (UNI) Russia and India are close to reaching a deal on the price escalation of heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, with India agreeing to pay additional amount of up to 1 billion dollar to Russia.

The controversy over the three-fold increase in the payment for the upgradation of Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, which is to be delivered to the Indian Navy, is close to its conclusion,'' influential Russian daily Nezavisimaya wrote adding, the foreign client has been given proof of the necessity to shell out another billion US dollars.

Currently, Vice-Admiral Dilip Deshpande is on a visit to Russia, leading a delegation during which it will be carrying out a scheduled examination of the repair and upgradation works of the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier at Sevmash shipyard.

Moreove, there are plans to check the worksheets of additional and unrecorded works with the Indian side. It is expected that the cost of the upgradation of the aircraft carrier will be raised by 0.8-1 billion US dollar, the paper said quoting a press release issued by Sevmash.

It said quite a lot of unrecorded works have amassed.

For example, in accordance with the first estimation, 700 km of cables were expected to be laid, while after the composition of all equipment and aggregates had been verified, the length of the cables required turned out to be no shorter than 2500 km.

Furthermore, it is necessary to install new boilers and turbines, and fix the fighting deck. Upgradation of a ship like this is comparable to building a new one. In fact, only the hull, which India received free of charge as per the contract, remains unchanged, Nezavisimaya Gazeta said.

The aircraft carrier to be renamed as INS Vikramaditya, was to be delivered to the Indian Navy by the end of 2008.

However, as it turned out soon to the Russian side that the cost of the upgradation had been dramatically underestimated.

The situation was further aggravated by a fall in US dollar exchange rates and a surge in prices of metals and energy carriers.

Vladimir Pastukhov, the Director of Sevmash, had to pay for this and he was fired.

At first the Indians refused to even hear about reviewing the amount of payment and additional expenditures of one billion dollar, at least. But since they need the aircraft carrier so much, they consented to start negotiations and consultations, the paper said.

The paper also said the issue of the fighter aircraft for the heavy aircraft carrier has also been resolved.

The contract on supplying twelve MiG 29K fighters and four MiG 29 KUB has not been cancelled by anyone, it said, adding, the first four planes will be delivered to India in September, although initially they were supposed to be delivered in May.

The first group of Indian pilots will arrive in Russia soon for training, the paper said.

UNI XC SZ KN1800

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