terça-feira, 12 de fevereiro de 2008

Gorshkov deal: Russian PM may be carrying compromise formula

Gorshkov deal: Russian PM may be carrying compromiseformula

Moscow, Feb 11: Russian Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, who is reaching New Delhi tonight on a crucial official visit, is believed to be carrying a compromise formula to resolve the issue of upgradation of aircraft carrier 'Admiral Gorshkov' for the Indian Navy.

But even if the negotiations for modifying the USD 1.2 billion deal signed between the two countries in 2004 is finalised, Russian media reports said the delivery of the upgraded aircraft carrier could be delayed by one more year to 2013.

Russia seems to be willing to settle for the reported Indian offer to pay some additional amount ranging upto USD 500 million to complete the project, Kommersant daily reported.

Moscow had earlier asked a staggering additional sum of 1.5 billion dollars claiming that the warship's retrofitting cost had been underestimated in the earlier deal.

India and Russia has signed a USD 1.2 billion deal in 2004 under which Russia's 'Sevmash' sAccording to local media, last week Zubkov was briefed by Deputy Minister for Industries and Energy Denis Manturov on the issue of Gorshkov upgradation.

Quoting Deputy Minister Manturov the paper said as India would be transferring the funds only in 2009, the delivery of the upgraded aircraft carrier could be delayed by one more year to 2013.

Local industry officials said the amount India is ready to additionally pay is not enough to complete the upgradation of the vessel. They are insisting that the signatory of the contract 'Rosoboronexport' should further negotiate with India to recover all the necessary funds.

Experts here believe that the Russian side is trying to put the burden of its own mismanagement and other organisational lapses on the Indian side.

According to defence industry analyst Konstantin Makiyenko, the Russian government should provide easy credit to the shipyard so that work does not stop and the aircraft carrier could be delivered in 2012 in accordance with the revised schedule.

He hoped that Zubkov's talks in New Delhi will settle the issue that has affected the Indo-Russian military ties.

Shipyard was to upgrade the Soviet-built Kiev Class carrier at the cost of USD 700 million and the rest amount was for supply of Mig-29K fighters for the carrier.

"During Viktor Zubkov's India visit a decision in principle could be taken to modify the contract and the new price would be negotiated in Moscow during Indian Defence Secretary Vijay Singh's visit beginning on February 19", the daily reported.

Bureau Report

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