The Narendra Modi-led NDA government has cleared a proposal to produce at least 7.47 lakh Kalashnikov assault rifles by the Ordnance Factory Board and a Russian Joint venture firm for the Indian Army. The plant for the same will be set up near Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
This comes days after the government signed a deal for procuring 72,400 assault rifles for the Indian Army’s infantry from the US-based M/s Sig Sauer. An intergovernmental agreement for a joint venture between Russia’s Kalashnikov concern and Ordnance Factory Board is expected to be inked later this week.
The joint venture is in response to Ministry of Defence (MoD)’s Request for Information (RFI) for procurement of 650,000 assault rifles of 7.62×39mm calibre under ‘Make in India’ program. Media reports quoted sources as saying that as part of the deal around 50,000 assault rifles will be handed over to India once the joint venture is inked.
Russia has been pushing for signing this deal since last year in October when Indo-Russia summit had taken place in New Delhi. In December, both countries had agreed to the establishment of a Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission on military and military-technical cooperation to complete the restructuring of the intergovernmental commission to make it possible to establish closer cooperation in the defence sector.
During the India-Russian intergovernmental commission meeting on military-technical cooperation in December last year it was decided that the Kalashnikovs will be made in India under Make in India initiative of the government. Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, had met her Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, regarding the same