Final accord on Gorshkov pricing by July-end: Russian envoyJuly 15th, 2009 - 6:10 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) India and Russia will reach a final agreement on the cost of overhauling the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier by the end of this month, the Russia envoy here said Wednesday.
“Both sides are coming to terms on the price and the date for commissioning for the Indian Navy. It will be announced within a fortnight. I do not want to speculate on the costs… it could be more than $2 billion,” said Russian Ambassador Vyacheslav Trubnikov, who shortly leaves Delhi after a five-year stint.
The current contract covers a complete overhaul of the ship and equipping it with modern weaponry, including MiG-29K Fulcrum aircraft and anti-submarine helicopters.
A joint Indian-Russian working group is negotiating and preparing a revised agreement on the Admiral Gorshkov (to be renamed INS Vikramaditya), which is to replace India’s ageing INS Viraat carrier.
“What is important here is that both sides have expressed goodwill. India needs this aircraft carrier,” said Trubnikov.
The aircraft carrier is currently docked at the Sevmash shipyard in northern Russia, with over 2,000 workers carrying out repairs.
Trubnikov, who has been credited for building closer ties between New Delhi and Moscow, bemoaned the fact that trade ties were not commensurate with the potential.
“It (trade) leaves much to be desired. Trade still remains a challenge… Though it is positive, that is not enough,” he said.
“Bilateral trade last year was around $7 billion. That is nothing considering the potential there is in this globalised world, where we can find many more outlets to make the partnership profitable.”
According to Trubnikov, the energy sector, military technical cooperation and colloboration in space were the three pillars that formed the basis of the relationship between both countries.
“Military technical cooperation is highly competitive. We must learn to modernise techniques. Russia has changed its philosophy from being a buyer-seller partner to seeking mutual benefits in technology,” he said.
“Both countries are moving forward for joint production of a fifth-generation fighter aircraft and a multi-role transport aircraft.”
Explaining the increasing importance of India-Russia relations in a developing multi-polar world, Trubnikov referred to the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) grouping that he reckoned will play a significant role.
“It is going to play a more and more significant role in the construction of an architecture for the future both militarily and economically.”
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Tags: admiral gorshkov aircraft carrier, ageing, bilateral trade, colloboration, energy sector, fortnight, indian navy, ins vikramaditya, ins viraat, northern russia, russian ambassador, russian envoy, shipyard, stint, technical cooperation, three pillars, trade ties, vikramaditya, vyacheslav, weaponry