INS Vikramaditya will set sail on comprehensive sea trials later this week at a ceremony likely to be attended by Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

The extensively modernised former Soviet-era carrier Admiral Gorshkov is scheduled to take to the sea from the Sevmash shipyard in the northern port city of Severodvinsk on the White Sea on May 25. However, bad weather may delay the ship's departure as a storm alert has been issued for the weekend, said a spokesperson for the shipyard on Tuesday.

Media reports said Mr. Putin, who reclaimed the top Kremlin post earlier this month, may travel to Severodvinsk to see off the Vikramaditya. It was during Mr. Putin's presidency that the deal for upgrading the hybrid carrier/cruiser Gorshkov into a full-fledged heavy aircraft carrier was signed.

During the trials, the Vikramaditya will undergo “a full range of sea-going tests,” a Russian ship industry official told the Interfax news agency. Russia is due to hand over the vessel to India in December this year, after a delay of four years caused by differences over retrofitting costs.

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