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Gorshkov price negotiations in final stages: Navy

A file photo of Admiral Gorshkov rechristened as INS Vikramaditya

NEW DELHI (PTI): The protracted price renegotiation for the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier between India and Russia is in final stages, Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said has said. But he refused to set a deadline for clinching the deal, the talks for which have been going on for three years now.

“I am not inclined to hazard a guess on the time frame. We are in the final stages. Fourth round of talks on fresh price is going on at present to fix the tasks needed on Gorshkov and the costs,” Verma said when asked if the negotiations would be over before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's scheduled visit to Russia this weekend.

“It is a fact that the Gorshkov project is behind schedule. But we are working on it to get delivery by 2012. We continue to address it at every bilateral meet with the Russians,” he said.

Assuring that the work on Gorshkov, which India bought in 2004 and rechristened as INS Vikramaditya, had not stopped, Verma said the repair and refit was continuing with adequate resources pumped in by Russians to complete the work before the revised deadline.

After India bought the warship for USD 974 million, Russian shipyard, Sevmash, hiked the price twice since 2007 and currently demands an additional USD 2.9 billion for the warship.

Defence Minister A K Antony recently said the deal was not likely to be clinched during Singh's visit to Moscow.

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