The Indian Army is reportedly planning to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to procure more than 750,000 elite AK-203 assault rifles.

The Indo-Russian Rifles (IRRPL), an India-Russia joint venture (JV) at Korwa, will manufacture the assault rifles in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP).

Of the total order, 100,000 rifles will be manufactured in Russia. The JV based in Amethi will produce the remaining 650,000 units.

The Hindu quoted a defence official as saying that the MoU should be signed in a month.

Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the rifle-manufacturing facility in Korwa. IRRPL is a JV between Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) on the Indian side, and Rosonboron Exports and Concern Kalashnikov on the Russian side.

The Indian Army’s OFB owns a 50.5% stake in the JV and the remaining 49.5% is held by Russian partners.

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The JV was formed consequent to the inter-governmental agreement signed between the two countries in February last year.

After that, it secured all requisite licences for production and export. Following the conclusion of the board meeting of the JV, an initial set of officers from the army and OFB joined in it to start its operations.

Later on, close coordination and regular interactions were held with Russian partners for smooth implementation of the project.

In July last year, the Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the operationalisation of the JV IRRPL to manufacture AK-203 assault rifles in UP.

Last month, the Indian Army reportedly received the first lot of Sig Sauer assault rifles to boost its counter-terrorism operations.