Admiral Gorshkov's final price decided: Russian envoy



New Delhi: Days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Moscow, Russian ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin Monday said the final price for the refurbishment of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov has been finalised.

"Talks were successful. Talks have concluded," the Russian envoy said when asked about the final price at which Russia has agreed to sell Admiral Gorshkov to India.

The envoy, however, declined to disclose the final price of the aircraft carrier that has been the subject of protracted negotiations between the two sides.

"Please don't sensationalise Gorshkov's pricing. These are routine price negotiations," said Kadakin, an old India hand whose earlier tenure as Russia's ambassador to India (1999-2004) saw the forging of strategic partnership between the two countries.

The Gorshkov issue came up during the summit level talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow last week.

After the talks, Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao had said the negotiations over price and other technical issues relating to the re-fitted aircraft carrier were brought "to a successful conclusion".

Rao, too, did not disclose the final price agreed to by both sides.

Kadakin admitted that there were "mistakes" by both sides in negotiating the price, but assured that these issues have now been sorted out.

The carrier would be supplied to India in a very good shape with cutting-edge technology, Kadakin said.

Kadakin said India-Russia defence ties remained as strong as ever and Moscow was not worried about New Delhi diversifying its purchase of military hardware from other countries.

He admitted that supplying spares and maintenance of Russian weaponry sold to India remained an issue, but expressed confidence that these would be sorted out soon.

Moscow had reportedly asked for $2.9 billion for the aircraft carrier, nearly thrice the price that was originally agreed between the two sides in 2004.

But New Delhi insisted on scaling back the price to $2.1 billion.

Delays in re-fitting the aircraft carrier and huge cost overruns had turned out to be an irritant over the otherwise time-tested relationship between the two countries.

IANS