New Delhi : Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India next week could be clouded by New Delhi’s concern over the unnecessary delay in delivery of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov and Moscow’s worries over the cancellation of Sistema’s telecom licence.

One of the contentious issue that India is to seek more explanations from Putin is on aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, renamed INS Vikramaditya, that New Delhi agreed to buy in January 2004 for $947 million and whose price has escalated to $2.3 billion as of now, with no concrete timeframe for its delivery.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony had to explain to parliament earlier this month on the unnecessary delay in delivery of Vikramaditya, and hoped that it will come in the last quarter of 2013 as against the earlier delivery schedule of December 2012. Earlier too, the original delivery date was revised from August 2008 to December 2012.

Antony for the first time made it clear that the Indian government can possibly impose “liquidated damages” on Russia as per contract for late delivery of Vikramaditya.

India is likely to seek Putin’s firm assurance that handover of Vikramaditya is not further delayed beyond the revised November 2013 delivery date.

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Free Press Journal