The iconic Kalashnikov rifle, also regarded as world's favourite assault rifle, will now be made in India. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi led central government on Thursday approved a proposal to manufacture 7.5 lakh Kalashnikov rifles to be built by Ordnance Factory Board in a joint venture with a Russian firm, suggested media report.
The plant to manufacture the Kalashnikovs, a derivative of the famous AK-47 rifle, will be set up at Korwa, which falls in the Amethi constituency of Congress president Rahul Gandhi. The new rifles, to be used by the troops deployed at the borders, which will replace the indigenous (5.56 x 45 mm) INSAS rifles inducted in 1978.
An inter-governmental agreement to manufacture the 7.62x39 mm caliber AK-203 guns, is likely to be signed on February 15, according to a Times of India report.
The development came after the government told Russia that its firm Kalashnikov concern would have to tie-up with state-run Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), instead of its earlier proposal for a JV with the Adani Group, the leading daily reported.
Last year, the Defence Acquisition Council chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman cleared the procurement of 72,400 assault rifles and 93,895 carbines on a fast-track basis for Rs 3,547 crore to enable the defence forces to meet their immediate requirement for the troops deployed on the borders.Earlier on Tuesday, India had signed a Rs 647 crore contract to buy 72,400 assault rifles from US company Sig Sauer under the fast track procurement case approved by the Defence Acquisition Council on January 16, 2018. The assault rifles would be manufactured at Sig Sauer's production unit at New Hampshire.
Out of the 72,400 assault rifles, Indian Army would get 66,400, Indian Air Force to get 4,000, and Indian Navy would receive 2,000 of these guns.
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar