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Cost escalation for Gorshkov's refit transparent, says Russia

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A File Photo of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov at a plant in Russia

MOSCOW (PTI): As the Indian audit watchdog CAG questioned the prudence of buying a second-hand aircraft carrier from Russia at an exorbitant cost of USD 1.82 billion, Moscow has said the cost escalation for refit of the warship 'Admiral Gorshkov' was transparent and being monitored by the Indian navy.

"At several occasions our leadership has given public statements on the issue. Each and every step in the process of the refit of the aircraft carrier is monitored by Indian navy's technical team and they have never raised objections," Vyacheslav Davidenko, the official spokesman for the Rosoboronexport (ROE) state corporation, told PTI here.

The ROE is the Russian government's nodal agency for executing foreign defence contracts.

Davidenko refused to comment on the CAG report for 2008, released on July 24, which wondered why the Defence Ministry was buying the warship second-hand which now comes at "half its life-span" and about "60 per cent more expensive" than a new aircraft carrier.

He, however, said that "this is India's internal matter."

Anastasia Nikitinskaya, official spokesperson of the Severodvinsk-based Sevmash shipyard, has claimed the cost went up as Indian Navy had been constantly changing specifications, which were not included in the initial estimate for upgrading the 44.5-thousand-tonne Kiev class carrier commissioned in 1987 by the Soviet Navy and decommissioned after the collapse of the USSR.

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