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Gorshkov to top Russian Defence minister's agenda in Delhi

NEW DELHI: The renewed price negotiations for the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier will top the agenda of Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov during his three-day visit to India beginning September 28.

"The Russian Defence Minister will be in New Delhi from September 28 to 30 to co-chair the Indo-Russian Inter- Governmental Commission for Military and Technical Cooperation with his Indian counterpart, A K Antony, when various deals, including Gorshkov, will be discussed and agreements signed," a Defence Ministry source said here today.

India had bought the aircraft carrier and rechristened it as INS Vikramaditya under a USD 1.5 billion deal in 2004 and sent it to the Russian Sevmash Shipyard for a refit.

However, Russia has been demanding an additional USD 1.2 billion citing escalating costs for completing the refit and delivering Gorshkov to Indian Navy under a delayed schedule in 2012. The ship was originally scheduled to join Indian Navy service in 2009.

Among the other issues Serdyukov will discuss with Antony are plans for developing a joint fifth generation fighter aircraft and medium transport aircraft, and T-90 tanks technology transfer, sources said.

The Russian delegation will arrive in Delhi on September 28 evening and their Defence Minister will hold one-to-one meeting with his Indian counterpart here at South Block on September 29.

The two sides would attend the Inter-Governmental Commission, which was last held in Moscow in September 2007, immediately after their two Defence Ministers meet, sources said. During the meeting, the two countries would sign military protocols on issues of mutual interest and negotiate the important defence agreements.

Serdyukov will also visit BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture between the two countries design, development and marketing of advanced cruise missiles, in Delhi Cantonment.

The Indian Defence Minister will host an official dinner in honour of Serdyukov that evening.

On September 30, Serdyukov will visit Agra to take a round of the 50 Para Brigade of the Indian Army and will witness live demonstration by Army paratroopers.

The Russian delegation will also see the Taj Mahal before returning to Moscow. (PTI)

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