India has stopped negotiations with Russia on the purchase of ten Ka-31 early warning and control helicopters. The deal was evaluated at $520 million, Defense News reports, citing a military source at the Indian Ministry of Defense.
According to the publication, the government of India suspended negotiations with Russia's defence export giant Rosoboronexport and Russian Helicopters Concerns for an indefinite period of time. As for the reasons, India referred to Moscow's ability to fulfill the order, as well as to money transfer issues, Defense News said.
An Indian Navy spokesman said the suspension of the talks was a problem as India intended to use the Russian helicopters for its second aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, which was supposed to join the fleet in July.
In turn, Amit Kaushish, a former financial adviser on procurement of the Indian Ministry of Defense, said that the talks could be terminated due to geopolitical pressure, budgetary constraints and the fact that the country prefers to purchase domestically developed helicopters.
India decided to purchase a batch of Ka-31 early warning and control helicopters from Russia in May 2019, but faced delays due to the coronavirus pandemic and the high cost of the helicopters. The negotiations resumed in February 2022, when the parties agreed on a price of $520 million for ten helicopters. Afterwards, the talks stalled again due to disagreements over the payment scheme.
To date, the Indian Navy has 14 Ka-31 helicopters.
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