Panaji: India is likely to take delivery of the long-delayed INS Vikramaditya (ex- Admiral Gorshkov\) aircraft carrier by 2012, according to Indian Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta. He indicated that the matter was on track and only some ''small monetary issues'' needed to be resolved.
''We hope to have the ship in the next two years. There are certain small monetary issues which are being tackled by the government,'' the admiral said on the sidelines of a function organised by Goa Shipyard Limited in the Goa port town of Vasco.
Adm Mehta said that the process of the carrier's transfer was ''progressing satisfactorily''.
The function marked the launch of the largest Indian-built offshore patrol vessel INS Saryu,
Meanwhile in Russia, media reports have quoted Anatoly Isaikin, CEO of Rosoboronexport Corporation, the Russian arms export monopoly, as saying, "Negotiations are currently underway about the setting up of delivery in 2012 and finalising increasing cost of warship."
Isaikin said the Indians understood that the initial price quoted was obviously low and should be revised upwards.
The 44-thousand ton Kiev-class carrier Admiral Gorshkov, was originally meant for induction as INS Vikramaditya in the Indian Navy in August 2008.
The Rosoboronexport official attributed the massive slippage in the project to the deal being signed hastily without proper technical and economic calculations.
''However, this money was not enough (to complete the work). This is also a lesson for us,'' Isaikin told government daily 'Rossiskaya Gazeta'.
According to Isaikin, half the work had been completed and an Indian naval team was supervising the work.
Earlier, a spokesman of Severodvinsk-based SevMash shipyard said that India has made some advance payment pending the final price negotiations and the work was at full swing.
India and Russia had signed a $1.5 billion deal for the Adm Gorshkov carrier, subsequently renamed INS Vikramaditya, in 2005. Of this amount, some $900 million was meant for retrofitting the ship and the remaining was to pay for a squadron of MiG-29K fighters that were to be deployed onboard the ship.
Admiral Gorshkov had been mothballed after a crippling blaze in 1995.
Citing unforeseen expenses, Russia unilaterally raised the price of the refurbishment to $1.2 billion and subsequently to $2.9 billion. The two sides have met repeatedly to resolve the issue.
Adm Mehta also spoke of a long-term plan to strengthen the Indian Navy. ''We are looking at a fleet of 160 warships and 300 aircraft by 2022,'' he said.