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Indian Navy team to monitor Gorshkov progress

NEW DELHI (PTI): Against the backdrop of delay in delivery schedule of Russian-built aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, an Indian Navy team is scheduled to visit Russia in the next few days to monitor the progress of work on the warship.

The delivery schedule of the warship has slipped further after it encountered engine malfunctions during sea trials in Russia and is now expected to reach Indian shores in the second half of 2013.

The team, which will be headed by a three-star officer, will also review the extent of the reported damage to the warship during the recent sea trials in Russia, sources told PTI.

The Navy team will submit its report to the Defence Ministry before the meeting of Defence Minister A K Antony and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov in first week of October, they said.

The two sides are meeting for the India Russia Inter-governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation (IR-IGMTC) next month where the Russian side is expected to provide reasons for the delay and the problems faced during the trials to the Indian side.

The ship, rechristened INS Vikramaditya, was scheduled for commissioning into the Indian Navy by December 4, this year but Russian media reports have suggested that it would now be delivered only in October 2013.

Navy officials said so far Russian officials have not communicated the extent of damage caused to the warship due to the malfunctioning of the boilers.

They said India is expected to ask the Russian side to hand over the carrier to the Indian side within the stipulated delivery schedule and carry out the required overhauls within that time frame.

Admiral Gorshkov was a Kiev-class aircraft carrier which was launched in 1982 and commissioned in 1987.

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