India to get INS Vikramaditya by Dec, 12

Moscow: India will get delivery of its much-awaited aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya from Russia by December next year, Defence Minister A K Antony has said, amid reports that Moscow will hand over the leased Nerpa nuclear submarine next month. The vexed issue of the delivery of these frontline advanced weapon systems was resolved after crucial parleys between Antony and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov here last night.

"We hope that the induction of INS Vikramaditya will take place on schedule by December 2012," Antony told Indian reporters here, saying the Indian navy is "keenly awaiting the induction of the aircraft carrier. "We also hope that activities on the MiG-29K are completed to achieve synchronisation with the aircraft carrier," said the Defence Minister, who co-chaired the 11th session of the India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on military-technical cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) on Tuesday with Serdyukov.

"Our bilateral military-technical cooperation is now on the even track," Antony declared as the two Defence Ministers dwelt at length on New Delhi`s concerns in delay in export clearance for the spare parts of weapon systems procured from Russia. The supply of spare parts, which include ammunition for main Indian battle tanks like T-90 and SMERCH multi-barrel rocket system, has been a major issue as reports have said that Indian army formations are running short of critical war reserves.

"The delayed export clearance has been affecting supplies of defence equipment and spares," said Antony.