Ahead of the 22nd India-Russia Summit, Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) has successfully produced and delivered 35,000 "Made in India" Kalashnikov AK-203 assault rifles to the Indian Army. This marks a major milestone in the ongoing defence cooperation between India and Russia, emphasising India's "Make in India" initiative in the defence sector.

The Kalashnikov AK-203, a modernised version of the AK-200 series chambered for the 7.62×39mm cartridge, is designed to bolster the combat capabilities of the Indian Army. IRRPL is a joint venture involving India's Ordnance Factory Board, Russia's ROSOBORONEXPORT JSC, and the Kalashnikov Group, both subsidiaries of ROSTEC State Corporation—Russia's primary supplier of armaments, military, and special equipment.

This project is a crucial part of India's Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan (Self-Reliant India) program, which prioritises the localisation of defence production. Sergey Chemezov, Director General of ROSTEC, highlighted the significance of this venture, stating, "Today, India is the first foreign customer to produce the 'two hundredth' series of Kalashnikov assault rifles. Production has been deployed in India in full compliance with the Make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan programs."

The rifles were manufactured at the Korwa Ordnance Factory in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh, which has been outfitted with the necessary machinery to ensure timely production and delivery. Alexander Mikheev, Director General of ROSOBORONEXPORT, emphasised the project's successful implementation, noting, "This enabled the production and delivery of 35,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles to the Indian Army within the agreed timeframe with the Ministry of Defence of India." He also described the joint venture as a "vivid example of fruitful cooperation between our countries in the defence sector."

Additionally, ROSTEC has announced the production of "Mango shells" in India, designed to defeat armoured vehicles with composite armour, under the Make in India program. The 125mm Mango round is compatible with the T-72 and T-90 MBTs.

Defence cooperation remains a cornerstone of Indo-Russian relations, marked by numerous collaborative projects over the years. These include the S-400 air defence system, licensed production of T-90 tanks and Su-30MKI aircraft, supply of MiG-29 and Kamov helicopters, INS Vikramaditya (formerly Admiral Gorshkov), production of AK-203 rifles, and BrahMos missiles. As the summit approaches, Russia has also approved the India-Russia logistics pact, enhancing military interoperability between the two nations.

(With Agency Inputs)