Kalashnikov rifles to be made in india by OFB.
Close on the heels of signing a deal of 72,400 assault rifles for the Indian Army’s infantry from the US based M/s Sig Sauer, the government on late Wednesday evening cleared joint venture with Russia for producing more than 7,50,000 units of AK-103 assault rifles, the third generation of AK-47.
An intergovernmental agreement for a joint venture between Russia’s Kalashnikov Concern and Ordnance Factory Board is expected to be inked later this week. Details including costs, timeline and other issues will be specified.
The joint venture is in response Ministry of Defence (MoD)’s Request for Information (RFI) for procurement of 650 000 assault rifles of 7.62×39 mm caliber under ‘Make in India’ program. The Russian share in the JV as per the provisions of the Indian law is going to be 49.5% with the OFB share being the majority 50.5% of the registered capital.
Sources also confirmed that as part of the deal around 50,000 assault rifles will be handed over to India once the joint venture is inked. There is an urgent requirement for rifles of two different types – a very accurate rifle with a high rate of fire and secondly a lighter assault rifle meant for infantry troops.
Russia has been pushing for signing this deal since last October when Indo-Russia summit had taken place in New Delhi. Followed by India-Russian intergovernmental commission meeting on military technical cooperation in December where it was decided that the Kalashnikovs will be made in India under Make in India initiative of the government. As had been reported earlier, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu co-chaired the meeting.
The government is keen to close the deal as it needs to on priority bases modernise the weapons the infantry needs as it is guarding long stretches of borders close to Pakistan and China.
These rifles are expected to be made in India for the Indian Army as well as police forces, and it could also be exported to friendly countries. The government is keen on 100 per cent local content for manufacturing of the rifles. Under the Joint Venture the two sides are expected to jointly produce and develop (Modernisation) of AK-103 rifles.
After fulfilling the assault rifles order for the Indian army, under the JV between Russia and OFB, it is likely that modernisation of the Indian Armed Forces stock of 5.56mm caliber rifles to 7.62mm calibre could be taken up.
Both countries have also inked in last December the establishment of a Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission on military and military technical cooperation to complete the restructuring of the intergovernmental commission to make it possible to establish closer cooperation in the defense sector.