BREAKING: IWI and Punji Lloyd Open FIRST Private Small Arms Factory in India

In an unprecedented turn of events, the Indian government has approved the building of a private sector small arms factory at Malanpur in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Previously, the Indian small arms industry has been entirely nationalized, with the Ministry of Defence-run Ordnance Factories Board overseeing the production of everything from armored vehicles to the somewhat notorious Nirbheek revolver designed for sale to Indian civilian women. Now, however, the Indian engineering group Punji Lloyd are partnering with Israeli Weapons Industries to open the very first private sector small arms factory in the nation. The factory is part of a new effort to meet the long-unfulfilled needs of the Indian military for modern, quality small arms in the wake of the government’s decision to scale back issuance of the troubled INSAS assault rifle in favor of older models like the AKM.

The full press release is below:

Press Release

Punj Lloyd and IWI set-up India’s First Private Sector Small Arms Manufacturing Plant at Malanpur, Madhya Pradesh

Malanpur, Madhya Pradesh, 4 May, 2017 – Diversified conglomerate Punj Lloyd and its JV Partner, Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) today inaugurated the country’s first Private Sector Small Arms Manufacturing Plant at Malanpur in Madhya Pradesh.

Presided over by the Honourable Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Honourable Minister of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water & Sanitation, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, the inauguration was attended by personnel from the Indian Armed Forces, State Police, Coastguard, Paramilitary, the media and dignitaries from the Indian Administrative Service. The joint venture company, Punj Lloyd Raksha Systems (PLR) will be manufacturing small arms for the Indian Defence Forces and also for export.

Speaking on the occasion, Samy Katsav, Chairman, SK Group said, “We are indeed fortunate to have in Punj Lloyd a reliable and knowledgeable partner. It is after a lot of due diligence in the Indian market that we identified Punj Lloyd for this partnership. Through this collaboration, we offer the combination of battle proven combat technology of IWI and the proficiency of a renowned Indian business partner. I am extremely upbeat about the opportunities in the sector and confident of contributing to the Make in India programme.

Punj Lloyd Chairman, Atul Punj said, “This is the first opportunity for the country to get its own ‘Made in India’ Small Arms.The need of the hour is to replace the country’s defence weapons with sophisticated and high precision products and Punj Lloyd Raksha Systems is the answer to the country’s immediate need.” Further Mr Punj said, “These are tried and tested battle proven products already being used within the country. It is the first time in India that we are coming together with the complete technology to manufacture these products as ‘Made in India’.”

Present on the occasion, Michel Ben-Baruch, Head of SIBAT, Israel Ministry of Defence said, “Israel’s Ministry of Defense fully and wholeheartedly supports this cooperation and will continue to support the transfer of technology and information also in the future, for the betterment of improved advanced tools. Israel and India consider their defense industry cooperation as a monumental step forward, towards a future of immense potential. “

H.E. Daniel Carmon, Israel’s Ambassador to India said, “Now celebrating 25 years, India and Israel’s growing partnership is multifaceted and ever expanding. The relationship is built on the strengths of each country, contributing to the security and prosperity of both peoples. I applaud the establishment of joint cooperation ventures, such as between Punj Lloyd and Israel Weapons Industries, taking up Israeli President Rivlin’s call for Israel to ‘Make in India, Make with India’. I hope to see many more such joint endeavors ranging from Security to Food Security, Water to Cyber, Start-up to Space. ”

It is intuitively obvious that this decision will result in the adoption of an Indian-made license-produced IWI rifle and possibly also a machine gun as a replacement for the aging fleet of Indian infantry weapons, including the INSAS. The betting horse in this case is likely the Tavor (or X95) which has been used by Indian special forces since 2002, and which has also been license-produced by the OFB. However, it is also possible that the 7.62×39 Galil ACE may be chosen instead, due to its compatibility with the existing AKM architecture in Indian service. Regardless of which is adopted, the establishment of the new factory constitutes an implicit statement regarding the Indian government’s loss of faith in the ability of the OFB’s factories to produce quality weapons to meet Indian defense needs.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • EC

    If the Indians adopt the bullpup Tavor, then the 1.2 million active service Indian forces and the 1.6 million active service QBZ-95 equipped Chinese ground forces would make it difficult to argue that the bullpup was dead.

    • Twilight sparkle

      You’re still stuck on that article?

      • EC

        Since it was written, yes. 😛

        • Megaman

          And don’t forget the AUGs in Austria, Australia, Tunisia, Ireland, Malaysia,Luxembourg, Uruguay… Those are only the countries, where it is adopted as a standard serfice rifle:

          And we should also think about the Tavors in Israel…

          • Or the 100,000 Tavors sold to Thailand recently, or the 50,000 FS2000’s sold to Saudi Arabia.

            But so far, the Tavor has proven to be the best selling non-AR 5.56 rifle in the 21st Century.

          • David

            None of these countries you speak of have any real war experience or training so………yeah

          • Megaman

            Isn’t Isreal in some kind of permanent war? And I also think the British L85s have been used in any of the latest major conflicts.

          • David

            L85 was one of the msot mediocre rifles ever adopted and the british are gonna phase them out as soon as they get the chance and isrealis use m4s for anything serious

          • Megaman

            Interestingly, that is mostly said by people, who have never even touched one. Most of the British soldiers like it.

          • David

            Most of the british soldiers never shot anything but that so yeah……if you only know one thing odds are you probanly dont know anything else

          • Megaman

            And how many US-Soldiers have ever shot anything else than a M4 or M16? Or used in combat situations?

          • David

            Your serious dude? And out of all places your saying this on a gun blog thats insane are you blind to the gun culture we americans live in? theres tons of diffrent rifles on thr market nto choose from not to mention plenty of after market parts plenty of American soldiers have experience with different firearms and much prefer aftermarket parts on there m4/m16 its just obvious dude not many peoplr have fired a firearm at all in the uk so when they join the military and fire that l85 its fine ti them because its all they know now the average us soldier knows better and has msot likely fired ither firearms that statement you made was just ludicrous

          • Megaman

            What a BS! You are telling me, that a every US soldier has shot and used every rifle in combat situations and than have decided, that the m4 ist the best and that they want to be equipped with it? And by the way: We also have almost any kind of semi autos here in Europe. I personally own an AR15 and an AUG. And I don’t live in the UK…

            And rumors say, that the US SF also don’t like the M4 and often choose something different. I think we should close this discussion. Pointless…

          • David

            Point blank the sas prefers the ar15 platform over the l85 alot if uk soldiers who have had the pleasure of shooting soemthing else have sees all the faults in the rifle a average joe in the uk army who hasnt fired anything besides hes l85 knows nothing more than his l85 so he doesnt know what a better gun is the only gun he knows is a l85 its pretty simple and obvious

          • sdf

            But all of those countries spec ops dont like bullpups soo much.

          • Jason Culligan

            Irish Army Rangers use the AUG-A3 as their primary weapon, so yea some of those countries spec ops do indeed use bullpups in quantity.

          • Ben Loong

            Important to note that the Malaysians replaced their AUGs with M4s already.

    • John

      This is true, and after France chose the HK416 over the VHS-2, very heartening.

      However, it’s far more likely that India will choose the ACE in 7.62 Russian. It uses AK magazines, has a magwell and a rail system, and is ambidextrous. Plus a lot of countries have adopted it, so the costs of mass producing it go way down.

  • plumber576

    Paki Punjab made get you laid.

  • Clearly another nail in the bullpup’s coffin amiright?

  • Mike

    India doing something rational when it comes to firearms?!
    Surely hell has frozen over! Is anyone feeling cold yet?

  • Caffeinated

    IWI will get burned and screwed. Just wait and watch. BRB popcorn is done!

    • kalashnikev

      The opposite.

    • TDog

      India: where arms deals go to die a lingering ugly death.

  • Form Factor

    The X95 would present a substantial step forward compared to theyr retarded replacement program corruption garbage Rifles.

    I just googled corruption… the first suggestion literally was – corruption in india….

  • kalashnikev

    Didn’t IWI just extract a bunch of money from Ukraine using the same scam?

    • John

      Systemic corruption in India. Masterful corruption in an Israeli company.

      Combine the two, and just maybe the Indian Army will get some decent weapons.

      • Warren Ellis

        Doesn’t India have a habit of making up corruption claims about companies so they can kick them out to try to shove in their own companies into a military contract competition?

        • John

          Which is why IWI went through an Indian middleman this time. it circumvents a lot of the initial problems.

          It also helps that Pakistan just selected and okayed the CZ Bren for their new standard-issue military rifle. The Indian government stood up and took notice of that one.

  • TDog

    Q: How do you screw up an AK?
    A: Have it made in India.

    Q: How do you screw up a Tavor?
    A: Do I really have to tell you?

    • Jack

      Have it made in Indiana?

  • UnrepentantLib

    I continue to be perplexed at the inability of a nation that produces as many engineers as India being able to take the AK-47 and totally screw it up, and then not being able to find at least one Indian engineer who could look at it and say “Fix this, this and this and it’ll work.”

    • LCON

      It’s the QC. They might be able to design a system but production slips.

      • TJbrena

        Freedom Group looks at Indian QC and judges their own to be great based on that.

    • Hans

      Indian ‘engineers’ are complete rubbish.

      • Samar

        Is this so. Pls read the interview of Warren Buffet. However one racist has been found.

  • Mikial

    Okay . . . that’s nice. And this matters to American gun owners . . . how?

  • UVB76

    What laser designator is that?