January 27, 2009 -- Indian team consisting of four officials has left for Russia to conclude the INS Vikramaditya price negotiations newspapers reported on Monday. The team will work on fixing a final price for the aircraft carrier, being refitted by the Russians.
There will be a final round of talks at the Defence Secretary-level, so the upcoming meeting is said to be a precursor to the final talks, authoritative sources in the Defence Ministry said.
The visit comes on the heels of a four-day meeting in New Delhi last week between officials of both sides. India signed the deal in 2004 at an originally contracted price of $1.5 billion. However, Russia now asks for an additional $2 billion for the refitting.
Delivery of the aircraft carrier was due in 2008. Now the revised schedule is expected to be 2012. It would be any time from one year to 18 months before the carrier was ready for sea tests, the sources said.
Negotiations on the deal have gained a fresh impetus after the visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to India last December. During the visit, it was indicated that the Russian side would like to wrap up price re-negotiation over the next three months. The modernisation bill for the 44,570-tonne Gorshkov was underestimated at the time the deal was finalised during the National Democratic Alliance government.
The aircraft carrier is scheduled to replace India’s sole ageing aircraft carrier, INS Viraat. (india-defence.com)
You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.