70K Kalashnikov assault rifles enter India, will replace SIG716
NEW DELHI, ($1= 74.35 Indian Rupees) – Russia and India signed an agreement for the immediate purchase of 70,000 AK-200 assault rifles, with arms deliveries set to begin in November this year, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing the Ministry of Defence of India.
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The contract was signed between the Indian Ministry of Defense and Russian representatives in the presence of employees of Indo-Russia Rifles Pvt Ltd, the rifle company that will lead the local production of AK submachine guns in India. These rifles are expected to arrive in the country in November this year, writes ThePrint.
They are expected to replace the INSAS 5.56x45mm (Indian Small Arms) rifles currently used in the army, navy, and air force, among other security forces, and will become a mainstay of the armed forces in the coming years. The Indian Armed Forces also use American SIG716 rifles with 7.62 × 51 mm cartridges, purchased by the army under a fast procedure.
The leading infantry will be equipped with SIG and the rest – with AK-203. However, several Indian military experts say it will not be news if the Indian government decides soon to replace the German SIG with a Russian Kalashnikov.
Both countries are working on a larger project to co-produce 6 million AK-203 rifles in India.
Earlier it became known that they decided to make the AK-203 the main assault weapon of the Indian army.
Recall that in August, the Ambassador of the South Asian Republic to Russia Bala Venkatesh Varma said that India will soon expect “very positive changes” on the issue of launching production on its territory of Russian AK-203 assault rifles, which will be delivered between the other, for the needs of the Indian army.
In December 2019 the Indian army received 10,000 of the 72,400 rifles ordered from US firm SiG Sauer for Rs 638 crore in February same year under the fast-track procurement (FTP) route for critical operational requirements.
“The Army will get 66,400 of these SiG-716 rifles, while 4,000 are for the Indian Air Force and 2,000 for Navy. These guns are compact, modern in technology and easy to maintain in field conditions,” said a source then.
Back in 2020 the Indian army has gone in for emergency induction of 210 Israeli “Spike” anti-tank guided missiles and 12 launchers, which have a strike range of up to 4-km, for the western front with Pakistan.
Similarly, the force acquired same year over 30 new sniper rifles, Beretta’s .338 Lapua Magnum Scorpio TGT and Barrett’s .50-caliber M95 guns, which have an effective kill range from 1,500 to 1,800-metre, for use along the 778-km long line of control.
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