News Agencies from both India and Russia have confirmed that India will adopt the 7.62x39mm AK-203, with production to be established at a plant in India. Production of as many as 750,000 rifles is planned. In recent weeks we’ve seen a lot of progress in India’s struggle to modernise its Army’s small arms. Not only have India recently confirmed a deal with SIG Sauer for over 70,000 7.62x51mm SIG716s but they have also purchased 6,000 sniper rifle from Barrett and Beretta. They are also reported to be nearing a deal for 95,000 5.56 Carbines from Caracal.
The deal to produce AKs in India has long been rumoured. The Times of India reported on 3 March that the licensed AK-203s will be produced in India, under Prime Minister Modi’s Made in India plan, at a plant in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. The guns will be produced at a new Indian Ordnance Factory at Korwa, near Amethi, which will be a joint venture between India and Russia. At a ceremoncy
Announcement confirmed on the India Army facebook page:
Russia’s president Vladimir Putin said in a statement:
I’m sure that launching a new enterprise will contribute to enhancing India’s defense potential, further development of scientific and production basis of the country’s economy and provide for creating new jobs for skilled workforce and give impetus for professional education and training personnel.
The joint enterprise at Korwa will be called Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited and is a co-operation between India’s national Ordnance Factory Board and Russia’s Rosoboronexport and the Kalashnikov Groups which are part of Russia’s ROSTEC state corporation.
Dmitry Shugaev, the director of the Federal Service of the Russian Federation for military-technical cooperation, said:
“Today, an AK-203 machine gun factory was opened at an arms factory in the city of Corva [sic] in India in accordance with the previous agreements reached at the highest level and the intergovernmental agreement signed.”
We don’t yet have all the details on when production will begin, how many per year will be produced or which units will be receiving the new AKs but as always TFB will keep you updated on India’s small arms saga. Kalashnikov Concern also have agreements to establish rifle production plants in Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
Check out Kalashnikov Concerns video (featuring TFB’s own Vlad) demonstrating the AK-203, here.