Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes plans to meet with his Russian counterparts in Moscow on 14-19 January, to review military cooperation deals between the two countries. The Indians are planning to buy the Admiral Gorshkov, a 44,500-ton Kiev-class aircraft carrier which, after undergoing modernization, would become the "most powerful" man-of-war of the Indian Navy.
The Gosrhkov, currently moored at a shipyard in Severodvinsk, would be fitted with the Brahmos 500 km anti-ship cruise missiles, which was jointly developed by the two countries. The carrier would also be armed with short and long range antiaircraft missiles, giving it a "multilayer" air defense blanket. The Gorshkov deal may include acquisition of a squadron of MIG 29Ks (carrier version of the aircraft).
In December 1998, Moscow and Delhi signed a memorandum under which Russia agreed to give the vessel 'free of charge', although India was required to bear the cost of its refit and modernization (including the purchase of two squadrons of MiG-29K fighters). The talks on the Gorshkov have been 'on-and-off' since 1994. The Gorshkov's modernization could be started as soon as the deal is signed. This $2.5 billion 2003 arms deal package would also include four TU-22 M3I strategic long-range bombers and the lease of a nuclear submarine. - Adam Geibel
Gorshkov information online at: