Russian honey-trap may have affected aircraft carrier deal with India

Admiral Gorshkov

Admiral Gorshkov

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The recent court disclosure of an Indian engineer’s affair with a Russian woman has added fresh controversy in a multi-billion dollar deal gone sour between Russia and India, over the purchase of an aircraft carrier. In 2004, India purchased Admiral Gorshkov, a Soviet-built, 45,000-ton warship, for $974 million. But the negotiations between the two countries over the refit and repair project quickly deteriorated, with Sevmash Enterprise, the Russian shipyard in charge of the project, hiking the price twice in less than three years. At the end of fierce negotiations that scarred the bilateral defense relationship between the two countries, the Indian Navy was forced to pay in excess of $2.3 billion for the 30-year-old warship. In recent weeks, however, a series of explicit photographs were circulated, showing an unidentified Russian woman with Commodore Sukhjinder Singh, an Indian engineer whom the Indian Navy stationed in Russia and tasked him with overseeing Admiral Gorshkov’s refit from 2005 to 2007.  The Indian Navy insists that Commodore Singh’s relationship with the woman did not “adversely impact India’s position” in the negotiations with the Russians. But there are persistent rumors in New Delhi that the unidentified woman was in fact part of a Russian military intelligence honey trap operation, which compromised Commodore Sukhjinder and weakened the Indian Navy’s position in the negotiations. On Friday, Singh was reportedly “relieved” of his engineering post, while a “suitable punishment”, including a possible court martial, is being considered by Indian Navy authorities.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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