Gorshkov delay: PM raises issue with Russia

Moscow: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has raised with Russia the issue of delay in the delivery of Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier to the Indian navy, saying it was important for India that the ship arrives in time. The Gorshkov issue was raised by the Prime Minister during the 12th Indo-Russian Summit talks with President Dmitry Medvedev at the Kremlin here on Friday.

Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told newsmen that both India and Russia were clear that they would take necessary action to ensure there was "no slippages" in the delivery of the aircraft carrier which will be rechristened `INS Vikramaditya`. Mathai said Singh told Medvedev that "it is very important for us (India) that the ship arrives in time."

According to the Russian side, the delivery would be delayed till 2012. They also claimed that since last year New Delhi has not made any payments although the extra work to the tune of USD 1.7 billion has been done by the shipyard.

The 44.5-thousand tonner Kiev class aircraft carrier was to be initially commissioned as INS Vikramaditya in August this year under the USD 1.5 billion deal signed in January 2004, which included the refit of the vessel and supply of 16 MiG-29K fighters. Sea going and flying trials of the refitted aircraft carrier will be conducted by the Russian crew trained on the `Admiral Kuznetsov` aircraft carrier in service with the Russian Navy.