Last week Indian media outlets began reporting that an order for as many as 70,000 AK-pattern rifles had been made from Russia’s Kalashnikov Concern. Speculation surrounded the news and many wondered how the order would fit into the larger deal being negotiated between India and Russia for a production license to manufacture an AK-203 variant in India.
Indian Weapons Procurement @ TFB:
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- Has India Sealed the Deal? 770,000 Kalashnikov AK-203s for Indian Armed Forces
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It appears, however, that the reported Indian rifle order may be for the more basic AK-103. Director General of Rosoboronexport, Kalashnikov’s parent company, Alexander Mikheev told Russian news service Interfax that a contract had been signed with India for the supply of 70,000 AK-103 assault rifles. Interfax also reported that a batch of AK-15s was shipped to India, which “will be used by special units of a number of Indian states.”
The order appears to be to fulfil an urgent operational requirement, which has necessitated an immediate off-the-shelf procurement rather than a run of the planned Indian variant of the AK-203, which we have a detailed article on here. The planned Indian service rifle, to be manufactured by Indo-Russian Rifles Private Ltd., is an amalgamation of features from the AK-103 and AK-203. The Indian rifle plans to retain the 203’s railed top cover, contoured ergonomic pistol grip and its muzzle device. However, India has not opted for the Russian 203’s adjustable buttstock, instead opting for the simpler AK-103 folding stock and handguard (with no top rail).