New Delhi: India has agreed to pay extra for the refit programme of Russian carrier Admiral Gorshkov according to naval chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, who also said that the government had constituted an experts committee to work out the increase.
"There will be some price hike. We need to pay extra amount and whatever amount is due as per contracts we will pay," said Adm Mehta.
The admiral had earlier expressed his anger at the inordinate delay being subjected to the programme by the Russians, which forced the defence minister to intervene in an attempt to smoothen ruffled feathers between the two nations. His outburst served the purpose of focusing national attention on a programme of critical importance for the defence forces, in particular, the Indian Navy.
Defence minister AK Antony recently informed the Parliament that an expert team had begun discussions on all additional work projected by the Russian side on the carrier. "The process of examination of the scope and necessity for additional work has been initiated," the minister said in the Lok Sabha.
On the issue of the Barak anti-missile system, the naval chief said that though the Navy needed more of them, it had built up enough stockpiles for the present.
As for maritime cooperation between India and Pakistan, Mehta said: "It is going well and confidence building measures are working in a positive manner and whatever the hurdles we have we will try to sort it out gradually." He pointed out that ever since both the countries established a hotline, the number of boats being apprehended had come down drastically.
Vice Admiral RF Contractor, director general, Indian Coast Guard, said that his force and the Maritime Security Agency of Pakistan were interacting on a daily basis.