India to take up Gorshkov issue with Putin in 'big way'



New Delhi: The delay in the handing over of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov will be taken up in a "big way" during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit next month and India may also consider imposing a penalty of around Rs 600 crore over the issue.

Putin was supposed to visit on Friday but has postponed his visit to December 24.

Russia had informed India at the Defence Minister-level talks earlier this month that it would be able to deliver the much-delayed warship only by the end of next year due to malfunctions in its boilers.

"The issue would be taken up in a big way during President Putin's visit and we are also considering the option of imposing liquidity damages up to five per cent of the contract worth over USD 2.3 billion over delays in supply of the warship," a Defence Ministry source said here.

The delivery schedule of the already much-delayed 45,000-tonne warship has slipped further after it encountered engine malfunctions during sea trials in Russia.

After Russia conveyed the new delivery schedule of the aircraft carrier, Defence Minister A K Antony had expressed concern over it and asked all the stakeholders to adopt a wartime approach for ensuring an early delivery of the warship.

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

The warship was originally scheduled to join the navy on 2008.

During the visit, India is expected to sign a number of defence deals for procuring 42 Su-30MKIs, 71 Mi-17 V5 choppers, new hypersonic version of the BrahMos missiles.

The government recently cleared several deals with Russia for procuring 25,000 Invar missiles for T-90 tanks and 10,000 Konkurs-M missiles for the Infantry and Mechanised Infantry battalions of the Army.

PTI