After months of marathon negotiations, India finally made a deal with Russia on purchasing the 44,500-ton aircraft carrier "Admiral Gorshkov" at a cost of about $660 million. When ready for operations in four and a half years, the ship would be almost 70 percent new and be armed with a squadron of MiG-29k fighters.
A mere three weeks ago, pundits in both the Indian and Russian press had been lamenting that the Indian government would never get around to finalizing what's only been in the pipeline for eight years. The enormity of the documentation in the main contract was said to run to 1,800 pages. That and the 18 subcontracts was the real reason why the Russians' visit to India was postponed in November.
How would the carrier be used? When Fiji's Mahendra Chaudhury was ousted in a 1999 coup, he desperately sought the sort of help from India like the power an aircraft carrier could project (rather than the verbal support he got). - Adam Geibel