Navy chief pulled up for Russia remarks | india | Hindustan Times
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Navy chief pulled up for Russia remarks

Admiral Sureesh Mehta has been pulled up for what is being seen as out-of-turn remarks on India's defence relationship with Russia, reports Amit Baruah.

india Updated: Dec 06, 2007 03:01 IST
Amit Baruah

Chief of Naval Staff Sureesh Mehta has been pulled up for what is being seen as out-of-turn remarks on India's defence relationship with Russia, which have the potential of impacting Indo-Russian ties.

Senior officials told the Hindustan Times on Wednesday that Defence Minister A.K. Antony was among those who pulled up Admiral Mehta for Monday's comments that there should be no more price negotiations relating to the purchase of the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov from Russia. The Admiral went to the extent of saying that New Delhi should think where its relation with Russia is going and not put all its eggs in one basket. The officials, however, contested Mehta's views and said India had diversified its defence purchases.

According to them, the Gorshkov issue and other defence-related matters were recently discussed at the highest level between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Vladimir Putin.

In such a scenario, the Admiral's remarks have come as a major embarrassment to the government. "It's not as if the Navy has an independent view within the government. There is one view and that is the government's view," the officials said. The government is also upset that the Navy Chief should have referred to India's hush-hush nuclear submarine project in public. Admiral Mehta is believed to be the first Indian official to confirm the existence of the nuclear submarine project.

Contrary to Mehta’s very public advice on the Gorshkov issue, the government is getting set to send a high-level delegation to Russia to discuss the price issue.