New Delhi, Mar 11: Chief of Navy Staff Admiral Suresh Mehta today said that India has reconciled itself to a price hike for the procurement of the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov.
"There will be some price hike. We need to pay extra amount and whatever amount is due as per contracts we will pay," said Admiral Mehta, who had in the past opposed any renegotiations with Russia on a price hike demand. Talking about maritime cooperation between India and Pakistan, Admiral Mehta said: "It is going well and confidence building measures are working in a positive manner and, whatever the hurdles we have, we will try to sort it out gradually."
Commenting on the Barak anti-missile system, he said that though the Navy needed more of them, it had built up enough stockpiles for the present.
Admiral Mehta said that the Barak missiles have proved themselves, and added that fresh supplies were held up because of the investigation of bribery in the purchase of the missiles.
"The Barak missiles have performed on board naval warships," he said but added it was for the government to probe if there were any wrongdoing.
Admiral Mehta said since their induction on board front-line naval warships, the Navy had carried out 30 tests of the anti-missile weapon system against surface-to-air missiles.
"They have proved themselves. All except the first one were direct hits," he added.
After the CBI initiated a probe into the deal, there have been reports that the force was facing acute shortage of supplies. But in his interaction with the media, the Naval chief rejected suggestions that the force was facing shortage of these missiles.
"We have enough of these missiles in our armoury," he said.
Admiral Mehta admitted that a decision on supplies of the missiles would be taken only after the government completes the probe.
The Left parties have been demanding end of purchases from Israel as well as blacklisting of the Barak makers, Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI).
Admiral Mehta dismissed reports that his force had surrendered funds to the tune of Rs 1,500 crore in the current budget.