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Friday, 8 February, 2002, 16:25 GMT
India and Russia arms deal stalled
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov and Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes
Klebanov (L) says the aircraft deal could be ready by summer
India and Russia have failed to reach an agreement on several multi-billion dollar defence deals, including the purchase of a Russian aircraft carrier.

Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes held lengthy discussions with visiting Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov but said a price for the various purchases had not been reached.

However, the two sides unveiled a host of other proposals including the possible development of a fifth generation fighter aircraft.

Mr Klebanov told journalists that an agreement in general had been reached to supply India the Admiral Gorshgov, an aircraft carrier, two TU 22 bombers and two nuclear-powered submarines - although nothing had been signed formally.

Nuclear Weapons

Defence analysts say India's acquisition of the nuclear submarines could significantly increase its naval capabilities and could have serious implications on the security situation in South Asia.

Analysts say neighbouring Pakistan does not own any nuclear submarines and China's submarine fleet is very old.

It is estimated that India would need more than $3bn to buy the military hardware on offer.

'Summer deal'

The deal on the aircraft carrier has been under discussion for a long time but has been held up by concerns about funding and the need for extensive refurbishment of the aircraft carrier.

"If Mr Fernandes agrees, we can sign the deal by the summer," Mr Klebanov said.

But Mr Fernandes said although technical details had been finalised, the two sides had not begun negotiating on the price.

"How much time it will take is too difficult to forecast at this time," he said.

Close military ties

The two sides did sign four agreements on enhancing military technical co-operation.

They include collaboration in warship building and the development of land-based systems for the army and the aviation sector.

In the coming months India will:

  • Start talks with Moscow on possibly building a fifth generation fighter aircraft together
  • Begin trials of the Russian made multi-barrel rocket system
  • Discuss co-operating on a global surveillance satellite system

Russia has also agreed to consider supplying India with additional T-90 tanks by March.

This would be in addition to 300 T-90 tanks that Russia is already supplying India in a deal signed last year.

The tanks have already started arriving in India, Mr Fernandes said.

Russia is India's largest supplier of military hardware.

See also:

07 Feb 02 | South Asia
Russia backs India over Kashmir
07 Feb 02 | South Asia
Analysis: India and Russia's close ties
15 Feb 01 | South Asia
India to buy Russian tanks
13 Feb 01 | South Asia
Russia and India bolster military ties
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