India has finally inked the long-delayed deal with Russia to manufacture over 600,000 AK-203 assault rifles in the country.
The deal was finalized between Indian defense minister Rajnath Singh and his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu at the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military & Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-M&MTC), in New Delhi, on December 6.
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved the project last week. These rifles will replace three decades-old INSAS rifles in service with the Indian Army.
The nearly INR 5,500 Crore ($730 million) contract calls for the production of over 600,000 AK-203s at a facility in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi district. The first 70,000 will reportedly include Russian-made components as technology transfers, and the army will receive these 32 months after the manufacturing process begins.
While talking to Defenseworld.net regarding the status of the AK-203 deal with India in October, Maria VOROBIEVA, Director for Public Relations of Kalashnikov, revealed, “The project is truly unique from the point of view of Make-in-India. The Russian stakeholders of Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) will ensure 100% AK-203 technology transfer to India. Localization will start from the very early stages and over time the AK-203 rifle will be manufactured in India including spares with materials sourced from local manufacturers.”
The IRRPL is a joint Russia-India rifle manufacturing facility set up in Uttar Pradesh’s Korwa town in March 2019.