News Brief

Indian Army Gets First Batch Of 35,000 AK-203 Rifles From India-Russia Venture Ahead Of PM Modi's Moscow Visit — All About It

Kuldeep Negi

Jul 05, 2024, 02:14 PM | Updated 02:14 PM IST

Kalashnikov AK-203
Kalashnikov AK-203

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Moscow for the annual India-Russia Summit this weekend, the Indian Army has received the first 35,000 India-assembled Kalashnikov AK-203 assault rifles.

These rifles are produced by an Indo-Russian joint venture situated in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi district.

The joint venture, Indo-Russia Rifles Private Limited, involves the Indian Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), Kalashnikov Concern, and Rosoboronexport.

Over 600,000 rifles are to be manufactured under this collaboration.

Rosoboronexport announced the delivery, stating that it has “produced and transferred” the rifles to the Indian defence ministry, marking the completion of the project's first phase.

A small number of AK-203 rifles, a version of the original AK-200 rifle chambered for the 7.62X39 mm cartridge, were initially bought off the shelf last year and delivered to the Indian military, The Print reported citing sources in the defence establishment.

The production at the India plant commenced last year.

The manufacturing roadmap includes an initial batch of 70,000 rifles with a lower indigenous content, starting with 5 percent for the first 5,000 rifles and increasing to 70 percent by the end of the initial batch over 32 months.

The goal is to achieve 100 percent indigenous components over 128 months.

India and Russia signed the agreement for the procurement of 601,427 AK-203 rifles in December 2021 through the Korwa Ordnance Factory in Amethi, inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi in 2019.

The AK-203 deal, initially announced in 2018, faced delays due to pricing issues, with OFB quoting higher price than direct imports from Russia. A committee was formed by the defence ministry to resolve this.

These rifles will replace the 5.56×45 mm INSAS (Indian Small Arms System), which has been in use for over two decades.

The AK-203 features a collapsible stock, an enhanced safety mechanism, a new flash hider, a new barrel, and interchangeable magazines of 30 and 50 rounds.

Also Read: Make In India Propels Defence Production To Record High Of Rs 1.26 Lakh Crore In FY24 — All You Need To Know

Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.

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