Defence Team To Visit Russia To Finalise AK-103 Assault Rifle Deal

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New Delhi: The proposed deal envisages the licensed production of the assault rifles in India jointly by state-owned enterprises and private industry at an estimated cost of $1.9 billion. The Indian Army alone requires more than 768,000 sets of such rifles

New Delhi: Top officials of India’s Defence Ministry, along with representatives of the country’s defence industry, are visiting Moscow next week. They will be assessing the Kalashnikov rifle works at Izhevsk so that the government to government agreement on the licensed production in India of the upgraded Kalashnikov AK-103 7.62x51mm assault rifles can be fast-tracked. The development was confirmed by an official of the defence ministry, as well as by industry sources to Sputnik.

The deal was discussed in detail during the Moscow visit of India’s Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman earlier this month.

“A group of officials from the ordnance factory board of Trichy and Rifle Factory Ishapore will be in Russia on April 24 to assess the Kalashnikov rifle works at Izhevsk. Later on, a defence ministry official will visit Moscow to have detailed discussion with the Russians,” an industry source told Sputnik.

The proposal for the licensed production of AK-103 rifles by the Indian industry enjoys the approval of the Indian Army, which has been facing a longstanding shortage of more than 768,000 assault rifles. Earlier, in February this year, the Nirmala Sitharaman-led Defense Acquisition Council approved the purchase of 740,000 assault rifles for the three services of the Indian Armed Forces.

“These Rifles will be ‘Made in India’ under the categorisation of ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’, through both Ordnance Factory Board and Private Industry at an estimated cost of $1.9 billion,” India’s Defence Ministry informed the Parliament on 13 February.

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