Has India Sealed the Deal? 770,000 Kalashnikov AK-203s for Indian Armed Forces

    Russian AK-203 (right side)

    India and Russia media reports suggest that the deal for India to procure and produce the AK-203 rifle has been agreed upon. The deal will provide the Indian Armed Forces with a much needed new service rifle.

    We have covered the trials and tribulations of India’s endeavours to procure a new service rifle and other infantry small arms extensively here at TFB. Back in February, we brought you an exclusive look at the proposed Indian variant of the AK-203. Check that out here.

    Indian AK-203 (right side)

    Indian and Russian media reports over the last 24 hours have stated that the deal to establish indigenous licensed production in Uttar Pradesh has been agreed during Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh’s ongoing visit to Moscow. 100,000 rifles will be imported from Russia while the remaining 670,000 will be produced under license in India, in line with the Modi government’s ‘Make in India’ policy.

    An Indian Ministry of Defence statement is quoted in the reports as saying:

    Both sides welcomed the advance stage of discussions for the establishment in India of an India-Russian Joint Venture for the production of AK-203 assault rifles which are considered one of the most modern weapons available for infantry forces. This provides a very positive basis for further engagement of Russian defence industry in the ‘Make-in-India’ programme.

    The reported per rifle cost is $1,100, this includes the cost of the technology transfer and the establishment of the production line in India. We have been unable to track down the official Indian statement and no confirmation from Kalashnikov Concern had been published at the time of writing.

    Indian AK-203 (left side)

    As previously reported, the rifles will be manufactured in India as a part of the joint venture Indo-Russia Rifles (IRRPL), established between India’s Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) – with a majority 50.5% stake, and Russia’s Kalashnikov Concern and Rosoboronexport – the Russian state agency for military exports.

    Matthew Moss

    Matthew Moss – Assistant Editor.

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written for a variety of publications in both the US and UK he also runs www.historicalfirearms.info, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of www.armourersbench.com, a new video series on historically significant small arms.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]


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