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No Gorshkov deal during Antony's trip

October 13, 2009 00:56 IST

No new deal on the modernisation of the Kiev class aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov will be signed during Defence Minister A K Antony's three-day Russia visit beginning Tuesday, the Indian envoy in Moscow said. 

"Another round of negotiations will be continued mid-November. The negotiations are proceeding well," Indian Ambassador Prabhat Prakash Shukla said on the eve of Antony's arrival.

He said no new deal on the modernisation of Gorshkov will be signed during the visit.

Shukla indicated that efforts are on both sides to achieve a mutually acceptable agreement on the additional price of Gorshkov up-gradation asked by the Russian Sevmash shipyard.

"The guiding principle is the understanding to reach an agreement as fast as possible," he said.

Under the initial $1.5 billion contract signed in New Delhi in January 2004, Russia was to deliver retrofitted aircraft carrier in August 2008.

However, the Sevmash shipyard later demanded that $974 million allocated for the upgradation of the 44.5 thousand tonner vessel, given to the Indian Navy 'free of cost', was not enough to complete the work and demanded an additional sum of $2.2 billion.

Ahead of Antony's visit Russia successfully conducted the landing and take-off trials of the MiG-29K carrier-based fighters developed for India on its only aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov.

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