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Delay in Gorshkov's delivery to figure in Indo-Russia meet


Admiral Gorshkov. An Indian Navy photo.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Delay in the delivery of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov to Indian Navy by Russia is expected to be discussed at the meeting of the Defence Ministers of the two countries here on Thursday.

The delivery schedule of the 45,000-tonne warship slipped further after it encountered engine malfunctions during sea trials in Russia and is now expected to now reach Indian waters in the second half of next year.

During the meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation (IR-IGMTC) between Defence Minister A K Antony and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov on Thursday, the issue will come up for discussion, Navy officials said here.

"We plan to discuss our further cooperation in this project with our Indian colleagues at the IR-IGMTC," the Russian Defence Minister had recently said.

The ship, rechristened INS Vikramaditya, was scheduled for commissioning into Indian Navy by December 4, this year but Russian media reports have suggested that it would now be delivered only in October 2013.

Navy officials said so far Russian officials have not communicated the extent of damage caused to the warship due to the malfunctioning of the boilers.

They said India is expected to ask the Russian side to hand over the carrier to the Indian side within the stipulated delivery schedule and carry out the required overhauls within that time frame.

An Indian Navy team headed by a Vice Admiral has also come back from Russia after reviewing the progress on the work of the Kiev-class aircraft carrier.

Navy officials said so far India has not thought of levying any penalty on the Russian shipyard but said as per the Defence Procurement Procedure, the Defence Ministry can penalise foreign vendors if there are major slippages in delivery schedules.

India, which has a fairly large component of foreign military hardware, is also working towards building an indigenous aircraft carrier which is also delayed by three to four years due to various problems.

The deal for the Russian aircraft carrier was signed in 2004 but the price of the ship was renegotiated and later put at USD 2.3 billion after repeated cost revision demands by the Russian side for repair and overhaul.

The ship will be part of Indian Navy's plans to operate an aircraft carrier in each of its two seaboards.

The officials said the two sides will also hold discussions on the delays in other projects such as the three Talwar Class-follow on projects.

Other issues which are expected to come up for discussion are the problems in the supply of spares for the Russian equipment in Indian inventory and their maintenance.

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