According to Russian news agency TASS, Russian state corporation Rosoboronexport has decided not to take part in the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs tender of procurement of about 20,000 assault rifles chambered in 7.62x39mm caliber.
The TASS source (undisclosed) said that the tender requirements are tailored for Bulgarian rifles and disqualify Russian offers of 7.62x39mm rifles. Among the most important parts of the tender was the supply of steel magazines. Russia doesn’t make steel magazines for a long time. They were first replaced with bakelite and then other polymer magazines. Another requirement was to have a steel folding stock. The modern Russian export AKs (100-series) feature polymer folding stocks. All these requirements pretty much disqualify the Russian AK-103 rifles from this tender.
Rosoboronexport has confirmed their exit from the tender but refused to comment the procurement policy of Indian Ministry of Home Affairs saying that commenting it would be inappropriate.
The Kalashnikov Concern has published a news release where they say that they are surprised to see steel magazines being a requirement. According to the KC, steel magazines quickly rust in hot and humid climate and in general they are not as durable as plastic ones. They even plan to invite Indian journalists and firearms experts to demonstrate the advantages of 100-series AK rifles. The Kalashnikov Concern also stated that in case if the tender requirements are changed making the AK-103 entry possible, they’ll re-enter it.