Russia justifiably now feels let down as India looks elsewhere towards Israel, Western Europe and USA rather than seek Russian help once again. The Russians are now reneging on old contracts. They are now demanding a much higher price for Gorshkov, the aircraft carrier purchased earlier from Russia, and other defence items.
The latter is demanding millions of dollar extra money for updating the warship. An information market survey in terms of price, quality, reliability and performance capability if conducted should reveal that the price differential between a new aircraft carrier may be from the USA, France, Great Britain or Germany in comparison with the price demanded by The Russian for the “Retrofitted and refurnished Gorshkov” would have been far higher. Moreover Gorshkov has been thoroughly tried out through its voyage the world over and proved its reliability.
The Indians are now flushed with foreign exchange and no longer dependent on the rupee trade with which it conducted trade with the Soviet Union earlier. We also want to upgrade our technology and not depend upon the obsolete technology, handed to us by the Russians earlier.
The solution is not to indulge in brinkmanship but to sort out matters and restore old friendship. Admiral Suresh Mehta spoke for the country, when he said in December, 07 that India should not acquiesce to the Russian blackmail. He was pulled up by the Defence Ministry for making unwarranted remarks.
The “Joint Declaration” also identified nine areas to increase business interaction and investment. These include strengthening transport links, streamlining customs administration, joint ventures and the opening of Indian commercial banks in Russia and vice-versa.
In the transport sector, the Declaration called for special importance to forward movement on bilateral and trilateral consultations to operationalise the North- South International Transport Corridor.