India and Russia have agreed a deal for the joint production of AK-203 assault rifles at a facility in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
The agreement was signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India for a bilateral summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A special-purpose joint venture (JV) called Indo-Russian Rifles Private Ltd (IRRPL) will be carrying out the assault rifle project.
According to The Economic Times, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has signed contracts with his Russian counterpart General Sergey Shoigu to produce more than 600,000 AK-203 assault rifles through IRRPL.
The deal will value approximately $676m (Rs51bn).
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The 7.62 X 39mm calibre rifles are expected to replace the in-service INSAS rifles that were introduced three decades ago.
Minister Singh said on Twitter: “Had a productive, fruitful and substantial bilateral discussions on defence cooperation with the Russian Defence Minister, General Sergey Shoigu in New Delhi today. India values its special and privileged strategic partnership with Russia.
“India deeply appreciates Russia’s strong support for India. We hope that our cooperation will bring peace, prosperity and stability to the entire region.
“Glad that a number of Agreements/Contracts/Protocols were signed pertaining to small arms and military cooperation.”
The two countries also renewed their military technology cooperation for 2031.
India is also procuring S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems from Russia. The delivery of the first set of S-400 units is expected by the end of this year.
In a separate development, Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) signed a contract with the Indian Army to refurbish its IGLA-1M missiles. The deal has an estimated value of $62.5m (Rs4.7bn).