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India may bag more Mig-29K fighters

September 25, 2008 14:05 IST

India is to buy 30 more carrier borne Mig-29K (Fulcrum-D) fighters for the Indian Navy and an agreement to this effect will be firmed up during the upcoming visit of Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov's to India next week.

Serdyukov's tour here at the head of a high-level officials and industry delegation is also likely to pave the way for signing of the new contract for acquisition and delivery of the carrier Admiral Gorshkov, according to top officials.

Russians have demanded a price escalation of $2 billion almost double the original contract cost of $2.5 billion for refurbishing the 45,000 tonne carrier, including carrying out its elaborate sea trials in Russian waters, prior to its delivery by 2012.

"Negotiations on the supply of additional batch of MiG-29K fighters would form part of the agenda," top Russian industry sources said. India proposes to operate the fresh Mig-29K Fighters on its indigenous carrier being built at the Kochi shipyard.

"The negotiations on the Admiral delivery will end sooner or later and we hope in the near future to start talks on additional delivery of MiG-29K fighters to India," President of United Aircraft Corporation Alexei Fedorov was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

Under the 2004 contract for the acquisition of Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, India is to receive 12 single-seater MiG-29K and four two-seater MiG-29KUB by next year with an option of ordering additional 30 fighters by 2015.

According to earlier reports, powerful Cabinet Committee on security is said to have cleared the acquisition of additional MiG-29K fighters, which would become the mainstay of the Indian Navy's carrier fleet.

However, ahead of the crucial Indo-Russian talks, Russian officials have raised doubts about the delivery of the carrier even by 2012.

According to the Chief of Russia's [Images] State Technology Corporation, Sergei Chemezov, it was "premature" to talk about a deadline for the Admiral Gorshkov delivery.

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