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US not offering Kitty Hawk to India: Gates
A Correspondent in New Delhi | February 28, 2008 01:36 IST
United States Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who is visiting India, on Thursday denied that he has come with an offer to give India the aging US aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk.
Speaking to a select group of journalists over breakfast in New Delhi, he brushed aside the speculation, saying, "Even I have heard about the rumour."
In the last couple of days, there were reports in the Western media that the US would offer Kitty Hawk to India. One weekly even reported, "When US Defense Secretary Robert Gates visits New Delhi late in February, he will be carrying a signed letter from President George W Bush [Images], offering a better deal for India than the one they have been struggling to get out of Moscow [Images] for four years now."
But, Gates flatly denied that the Kitty Hawak has been offered to India.
The weekly speculated that the Indian Navy would reportedly be offered the soon-to-be decommissioned USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) aircraft carrier for free -- provided it agrees to purchase 65 of the newest model Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to be operated off it.
"If true -- and if New Delhi accepts -- this can do more than just sink the Russian carrier deal and the MiG-29K contract," the weekly had said.
The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov has also been purchased with many other goodies for a variety of defence uses. The deal is passing through a bad patch after Russia [Images] asked for a higher price recently and offered to fit it with new equipment.