Naval chief sees nothing wrong with warship price | india | Hindustan Times
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Naval chief sees nothing wrong with warship price

After the country’s top auditor criticised the government for buying an overpriced second-hand Russian aircraft carrier, Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta on Thursday defended the price tag on Admiral Gorshkov.

india Updated: Jul 31, 2009 01:03 IST
HT Correspondent

After the country’s top auditor criticised the government for buying an overpriced second-hand Russian aircraft carrier, Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta on Thursday defended the price tag on Admiral Gorshkov.

“I can't comment on the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General). But if you can get me an aircraft carrier for less than $ 2 billion (around Rs 9,694 crore), I’m going to sign a cheque right now.” The auditor had said the used navy carrier was 60 per cent more expensive than a new one and will have a 20-year shorter life span.

New Delhi had contracted to buy the 45,000-tonne Gorshkov in January 2004 for $1.5 billion (Rs 7,500 crore) as India’s only aircraft carrier INS Viraat was to retire in 2007.

The Russians now want $2.9 billion (Rs 14,500 crore) for the warship, while India is bargaining for $2.2 billion (Rs 11,000 crore). In December 2007, Admiral Mehta had said India should not re-negotiate the price of the carrier.

Admitting that Russians were asking for too much money, Defence Minister A.K. Antony had told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that the deal was yet to be sealed.