Sunday, August 2, 2009

Admiral Gorshkov Deal

The statement given by Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta regarding the Admiral Gorshkov deal should be considered as the navy's official opinion. In fact, only the defense forces' opinion on quality of defense material and cost could be the most credible one.
Away from politics and faults found by analysts, the armed forces express their opinion about any defense system from a purely defense angle, after considering its need, utility, and price in comparison to similar equipment available in the market.

Opinions and Counter-Opinions
The deal for aircraft carrier Gorshkov is not quite recent. There have been several opinions and counter-opinions on it. Anyone who thoroughly understands the capability of an aircraft carrier, the technology used in it, and its quality can differentiate between truth and falsehood. If Admiral Mehta says that no question can be raised over this deal, the country should accept it as truth.
The Gorshkov deal is in the headlines these days owing to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report. The CAG may have its own opinion. It has given its conclusions on the basis of comparison between the initial price of Gorshkov, and the current price.
The first agreement with Russia was of $875 million, but the cost has kept on escalating as it was repaired and fitted with latest technology in keeping with Indian Navy's requirements. At first, India refused to pay the additional amount to Russia, but after considering everything, it found Russia's demand to be justified, and there were renegotiations in the deal. Now, we would get Admiral Gorshkov for $1.82 billion.

India's Urgent Need
At first glance, it seems that Russia has forced India to pay more in view of India's urgent need, but Admiral Mehta says that if anyone can find an aircraft carrier for less than $2 billion, he is ready to buy it. What more could someone have said without making a comment on CAG? Even before the CAG report, certain defense experts had raised questions about the utility, quality, and price of Gorshkov, and these were also answered. We should not forget that we have been searching for an aircraft carrier for the past 19 years.
Though Gorshkov is an old Russian aircraft carrier, effort has been made to make it new and useful, from every angle, for India. When it passes all tests after the trial, the Indian Navy would commission it. That is why there is delay in bringing it to India. But we should remember the proverb of better late than never. When the Navy is satisfied, what is the point in others being dissatisfied with it?

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