New Delhi: With bonhomie between the United States and India cooling off perceptively, Russia may well stage a strong comeback in India's flourishing arms market. Earlier reports in the Russian media that India may contract for atleast 28 more MiG-29K fighter jets now appear to be coming true with sources in India's ministry of defence suggesting that both nations are all set to formalise a $1.2 billion contract for 29 of these aircraft for the Indian Navy.
The MiG-29K (NATO designation: Fulcrum-D) is a naval variant of the MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters.
Sources in the Indian MoD have let it be known that a Russian team may soon arrive in New Delhi, probably this week, to detail the contract. It is also being suggested that the contract has received clearance from the cabinet committee on security (CCS), chaired by prime minister Manmohan Singh.
It is also being given to understand that the defence ministry is seeking CCS approval for the fresh contract for aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov's refit programme, with the renegotiated price of slightly over $2.3 billion.
The 29 new MiG-29Ks are over and above the 16 jets already contracted for with the initial $1.5 billion Adm Gorshkov package deal in January 2004.
The refurbished Adm Gorshkov is now expected to be ready for delivery to the Indian Navy only by early-2013, nearly five years behind schedule. It will be inducted into the navy as INS Vikramaditya.