INS Vikramaditya could be handed over by December: Russian envoy

Panaji, May 24 (IANS) Long-delayed aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya is undergoing trials and could be in India by December, Russian Ambassador Alexander Kadakin said Friday.

The Russian ambassador also complained that the delay in handing over of the Russian aircraft carrier to India was being written about extensively, as compared to the five-year long delay in the French-built Scorpene submarine.

Kadakin was speaking to reporters after inaugurating the Russian consul office in Goa.

“Things are going well (with the carrier). It will undergo exercise in the Northern Sea. There will also be more sophisticated exercises with Vikramaditya (the erstwhile Admiral Gorshkov),” Kadakin said, adding that the vessel could be ready for hand over in December.

Stating that hurry was not advisable in such matters, where precision and proper outfitting was paramount, he quipped: “If you want a healthy baby, do not organize the birth prematurely.”

“It is sophisticated, lethal, has razor technology which will increase India’s seaborne capabilities,” Kadakin said about the carrier.

INS Vikramaditya, formerly known as Admiral Gorshkov, was bought by India in 2004 but its handover was delayed on numerous occasions for various reasons.

The ambassador, however, raised questions about the manner in which Moscow as being questioned repeatedly and animatedly over the delay, claiming it was unfair.

“So much is written about Vikramaditya and the delay, but nothing is written about the five-year long delay of handing over Scorpene submarines to India. One should not raise a hullabaloo over these issues with friends,” Kadakin said.

The purchase of the Scorpene submarines from France for Rs.23,000 crore has also been plagued by delay with the latest media reports suggesting that the first Scorpene submarine would only be handed over to India in 2016.

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