India and Russia are expected to soon sign an agreement that will make way for indigenous production of assault rifles under the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. Indian Army will then have an advantage of producing Kalashnikov rifles at home, reducing the dependency to procure from abroad. The plan is to manufacture 6,50,000 Kalashnikov 7.62 mm AK-103 assault rifles which will progressively replace the INSAS and AK-47 rifles currently in operation.

An inter-governmental agreement (IGA) will be signed between India’s Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and Russia’s JSC Kalashnikov Concern with the Indian company holding 50.5 per cent of the joint venture.

Since 2014, Kalashnikov has been hunting for a local partner to collaborate for production of the weapons. The proposal to tie up with Adani Group has been rejected by the government following the Rafale controversy. Raw materials for production of the rifles will also be sourced indigenously.

Among the AK-103s, the higher performing types will go to the front-line soldiers. Some of the features of the AK-103s include an attachment to mount under-barrel grenade launcher, being able to fold plastic butt, standard mounting rail to install night vision.

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