After protracted re-negotiations,India and Russia have ended the stalemate over contentious price and technical issues for the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier which had become an irritant in bilateral ties.
“There has been excellent progress in negotiations on technical issues and there has been a successful conclusion,” Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters at the end of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on the second day of his three-day official visit to Moscow.
Details of the final price fixed for the sale of the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya were not disclosed.
Indian officials said a price satisfactory to both sides has been worked out for the refitting and delivery of Admiral Gorshkov.
Indian and Russian defence officials have been negotiating the price for the purchase of the refurbished USD 2.2-billion aircraft carrier for several years.
Moscow was asking for USD 2.9 billion for the aircraft carrier,nearly thrice the price that was originally agreed between the two sides in 2004. But New Delhi wanted the price to be scaled back to USD 2.1 billion.
Delays in refitting the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier nd huge cost overruns have been a particular concern with India. It had also put at unease the otherwise time-tested relationship between the former cold war allies.