Moscow: India has paid another staggering $102 million to Russia, to speed up refit work on the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, pending a final agreement on a huge price hike of almost $2 billion demanded by Moscow.
“The advance payment of $102 million has given a fillip to repairs and refit works. The workforce would be increased to 2500 for work in two shifts,” spokesperson of the Sevmash shipyard Anastasia Nikitinskaya said as Russian officials committed that they would meet the 2012 delivery deadline.
The increasing delay in the delivery of the warship has been described by President Dmitry Medvedev as the ‘sole irritant´ in Indo-Russian relations.
The issue came up in the delegation level talks between President Pratibha Devisingh Patil and her Soviet counterpart on 3 September, during her first state visit to the country.
Director General of Severodvinsk-based Sevmash shipyard Nikolai Kalistratov along with his chief engineer was also present at the talks held at Kremlin.
Under the initial $1.5 billion contract signed in New Delhi in January 2004, Russia was to deliver retrofitted aircraft carrier in August 2008.