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India-Russia finalise AK-47 203 rifles manufacturing deal, will boost Make in India: What we know

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India-Russia finalise deal to manufacture AK-47 203 rifles under Make in India initiative. (Representational image)

Amid Defence Minister Rajnath Singh ongoing visit, India and Russia have finalised a major deal for manufacturing AK-47 203 rifles in India, Russia media reports say. The AK-47 203 is the latest and most advanced version of the AK-47 rifle, which will replace the Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56×45 mm assault rifle.

India-Russia AK-47 203 deal | What we know

  • The Indian Army has a requirement for around 770,000 AK-47 203 rifles, of which 100,000 will be imported and the rest will be manufactured in India, Russia’s state-run Sputnik report said.
  • Both sides welcomed the advance stage of discussions for the establishment in India of an India-Russian Joint Venture for the production of AK203 assault rifles which are considered one of the most modern weapons available for infantry forces, Ministry of Defence said in a statement.
  • This provides a very positive basis for further engagement of Russian defence industry in the ‘Make-in-India’ programme.
  • “Gen.Shoigu reiterated commitment of the Russian side to engage actively with our MOD to ensure the success of the ‘Make-in-India’ programme,” Defence Ministry said.
  • The rifles will be manufactured in India as part of the joint venture Indo-Russia Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL), established between the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), the Kalashnikov Concern and Rosoboronexport — the Russian state agency for military exports.
  • The OFB would own a majority stake of 50.5 per cent in IRRPL while the Kalashnikov Group would have a 42 per cent share.
  • Russia’s state-owned export agency, Rosoboronexport, would own the remaining 7.5 per cent, the report said.
  • The 7.62×39 mm Russian weapon will be produced at the Korwa Ordnance Factory in Uttar Pradesh, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, the report said.
  • The cost of per rifle is expected to be around $1,100, including the cost of technology transfer and of setting up the manufacturing unit.
  • The INSAS, which is use since 1996, has developed some issues such as jamming and magazine cracking at higher altitudes in the Himalayas, the Sputnik report said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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