New Delhi: The Centre has given the approval for the production of over five lakh AK-203 Assault Rifles at Korwa in the Amethi constituency of Uttar Pradesh.
This move is part of the government's endeavours to make India self-reliant in the defence sector. It is also part of an effort to make Uttar Pradesh a hub for defence manufacturing.
"It reflects the ever-increasing paradigm shift in defence acquisition from buying (global) to Make in India. This endeavour will be done in partnership with Russia and reflects the deepening partnership between the two countries in the defence sector," TOI quoted officials as saying.
The project will also generate employment opportunities by providing opportunities for MSMEs and other defence industries for the supply of raw materials and components.
The 7.62 X 39mm calibre AK-203 rifles will replace in-service INSAS Rifle inducted over three decades back. The AK-203 assault rifles are lightweight, robust and easy to use modern assault rifles have an effective range of 300 meters.
The induction of these assault rifles will be a gamechanger for the Indian Army as the rifles cutting edge technology will enhance the combat capabilities and also the operational effectiveness in conducting counterinsurgency/counter-terrorism operations.
A special-purpose joint venture called Indo-Russian Rifles Private Ltd (IRRPL) will implement the project. It has been created with erstwhile OFB [now Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWEIL) and Munitions India Limited (MIL)] of India and Rosoboronexport (RoE) and concern Kalashnikov of Russia.
Russia is India's most reliable defence partner and a huge chunk of India's weapons are Russian made. New Delhi and Moscow share a special defence relationship that had begun during Soviet times.
The Sukhoi's, Mig's, T-90, T-72, INS Vikramaditya and even India's nuclear-powered submarines are of Russian Origin. Such has been India's reliance on Moscow. Unlike the US, Russia does not impose any conditions or clauses in its defence dealings with India meaning that the Russian contracts are no strings attached in nature
The latest addition to India's arsenal is the S-400 surface to air missiles which have a range of 400 km. India has purchased 5 batteries of the advanced air defence systems from the Russians.