|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Navy chief pessimistic about India-Russia ties
December 03, 2007 16:58 IST
Adopting a tough posture on dilly-dallying by Russia [Images] on handing over of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, Naval Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta on Monday said such a delay would make India "ponder where our defence relations are going to" with Moscow [Images].
He made it clear that there could be no renegotiation on the price of the aircraft carrier for which India has already made advance payment.
"We have paid more than $400 million for the carrier and we own it now," Admiral Mehta told a press conference on the eve of Navy Day.
"I have told the government that the Navy's line is that we should not talk on renegotiating the price for the carrier," he said, but ruled out any possibility of opting out of the $1.5-billion deal signed in 2004.
His tough comments assume significance as these come just ahead of a high-level Russian team's arrival here this week for renegotiating the price.
Under the Indo-Russian inter-governmental contract signed in 2004, Russia was to deliver the carrier by August 2008 for $1.5 billion. But now, Moscow wants revision of the price to whopping $2.7 billion, citing recabling work of 2,400 km to be done on the carrier.
"When we signed the deal, it was fixed-price contract, taking into account all eventualities of retrofitting. The retrofitting process will take at least two years... We have to see where our relations are going to with Moscow," said Admiral Mehta, who is also Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee.