India signs AK-203 assault rifle deal with Russia for Rs 5,124 crore

'India signs AK-203 assault rifle deal with Russia for Rs 5,124 crore'

After a long wait, India on Monday signed an AK-203 assault rifle deal with Russia worth Rs 5,124 crore. Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu finalized the Russian Assault Rifle AK-203 deal after bilateral discussions on defense cooperation at the Sushma Swaraj Bhawan in Delhi. In collaboration with Russia, more than six lakh assault rifles will be produced at the Korva Ordnance Factory in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh. The central government had approved the manufacture of AK-203 rifles in India two days ago on December 4.

The Defense Minister of India and the Russian Defense Minister General Sergei Shoigu signed agreements including a contract for the purchase of 6,01,427 assault rifles AK-203 through Indo-Russia Rifles Pvt Ltd, the Program for Military-Technical Cooperation from 2021-2031. The Protocol on Amending the Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Small Arms Manufacturing of the Kalashnikov Series on 18 February 2019 was also a part of the agreement. The deal comes at a time when India is aggressively pushing for 'Make in India' in the defense manufacturing sector.

After signing the rifle deal, Rajnath Singh said that defense cooperation between the two countries is one of the most important pillars of our partnership. The India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Military Technical Cooperation is a well established mechanism for the last two decades. He said that we appreciate Russia's strong support for India. Our close cooperation is not targeted against any other country. We hope that our cooperation will bring peace and prosperity to the entire region and provide stability to the region.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that I am confident that the new mechanism is going to turn into an efficient dialogue forum to talk about a wide range of regional and international topics. This will further deepen our traditional mutual understanding. Russia and India both have a similar world view to a more multi-centred, more multipolar, more equitable world order, we advocate for equal or equal positions on the most important political and military issues.

A decade after the signing of the rifle deal between the two countries, the Indian Army's hunt for an indigenous modern assault rifle in the form of 7.62 X 39mm caliber AK-203 is nearing completion which will replace the INSAS rifle. These assault rifles are easy to use with robust technology at an effective range of 300 meters. It has been designed in such a way that its use will increase the combat capability of the soldiers. These rifles will enhance the operational effectiveness of the Indian Army in counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations.

Indian Army needs about 7 lakh 70 thousand of these rifles. Of these, one lakh rifles will be imported from Russia and the remaining six lakh will be manufactured at the Korva Ordnance Factory under 'Make in India'. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has formally inaugurated this scheme on March 3, 2019. The project will be known as Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL).

It has been made in association with India's Advance Weapons and Equipment India Limited, Munitions India Limited and Russia's Rosoborone Export and Conkorn Kalashnikov. The first 70 thousand AK-203 rifles of 7.62 X 39 mm caliber will have Russian parts but after that this rifle will be completely indigenous.

Features of AK-203 Rifles

The length of these indigenously manufactured rifles is about 3.25 feet and the weight of a rifle loaded with bullets will be around four kilograms. It will also be very effective in night operations because it can fire 10 rounds in a second i.e. 600 bullets in a minute into the chest of the enemy. If needed, 700 rounds can also be fired from it. The name of the person who gave the most dangerous gun to the world is Mikhail Kalashnikov. The AK-47 was named after him. The full form of AK is Automatic Kalashnikov.

The AK-203 assault rifle pierces the enemy coming within a range of 300 meters. The AK-203 assault rifle has a bullet speed of 715 kilometers per hour. The new assault rifle will have both automatic and semi-automatic systems like the AK-47. Once the trigger is pressed, the bullets will continue to fire.