Senior Indian officials recently visited Russia to remind the Russians, in no uncertain terms, that the INS Vikramaditya (the former Russian Gorshkov), which is being refurbished and upgraded in a Russian shipyard, must be ready on time (March 2012) for sea trials. The Indians had cause for concern. That’s because, last April the first 152 Indian naval personnel arrived in Russia to begin training on the Vikramaditya. The Indians were there to learn about all the ship’s systems, so they can instruct the other 1,250 members of the crew. But at the same time, the Indian sailors could see exactly what progress the Russians were making on getting the Vikramaditya ready for service. Apparently some of these reports were not encouraging. This led to the high level reminders. The Russians responded by promising to do whatever needed to be done to have the carrier ready in time.
This project is already four years behind schedule and $1.5 billion over the original budget. This has become a major cause of ill-will between Russia and India. This was made worse by revelations that Russian officials were bribing their Indian counterparts to help make up excuses for the delays. This was made public ten months ago when, after a year of investigating the senior naval officer in charge of the aircraft carrier Gorshkov procurement project, it was determined that the officer (commodore, equivalent to U.S. rear admiral, Sukhjinder Singh) was guilty of something, and he was dismissed from the navy.