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India and Russia signed a military tech cooperation agreement during the ongoing maiden 2+2 dialogue aimed at bolstering defence ties over the next decade.

The two countries also signed agreements for the procurement of AK-203 assault rifles which will now pave way for the production of over six lakh of these small arms in Amethi. The deal was finalised at a bilateral meeting between defence minister Rajnath Singh and his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu.

Rajnath Singh said he had 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,” Rajnath Singh tweeted.

“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,” he added.

INDIA-RUSSIA INK AK-203 DEAL

The two countries also signed a deal for the manufacturing of AK-203 assault rifles in India. The domestic manufacturing of the rifles is crucial to meet the shortfall of small arms and will replace the old INSAS rifles.

“Agreements signed between India and Russia include the contract for procurement of 6,01,427 7.63x39mm assault rifles AK-203 through Indo-Russia Rifles Pvt Ltd and extension of the programme for military-technical cooperation from 2021-2031,” government officials said.

“The AK-203 assault rifle deal is the biggest attraction of the trip of the Russian President Vladimir Putin to India,” they added.

The AK-203, designed by Russia, will be produced in a new factory in Uttar Pradesh. Both countries have agreed to the terms of the deal in terms of numbers, price, and manufacturing process. The deal entails the production of 6,014,427 AK-203S for India’s armed forces over a 10-year period.

The first 70,000 will include Russian-made components as technology transfers, and the army will receive these 32 months after the manufacturing process begins.

The army’s requirement for assault rifles was expected to be met by the production of 6.71 lakh AK 203 rifles to be manufactured in Korwa, Amethi in Uttar Pradesh as part of a joint venture with Russia, but the Make in India project faced delays.

The Indian Army then purchased 72,000 Sig Sauer rifles from the US and has placed another order for 72,000 rifles.

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India today

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