India launches joint production of AK-203 Kalashnikov assault rifles

As reported by the Rostec State Corporation on January 17, 2023, the production of AK-203 Kalashnikov assault rifles will commence on the rationale of the Russian-Indian joint venture Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited, registered and located in India, whose founders from the Russian side are JSC Rosoboronexport and the Kalashnikov concern, which are subsidiaries of the Rostec State Corporation.

According to a press release from Rostec, the beginning of serial production of AK-203 Kalashnikov assault rifles will mark the beginning of the entry of high-quality, convenient, and modern small arms into the power structures of India. The release also noted that the model combines excellent ergonomics, user adaptability, and high performance characteristics, making it one of the best in the world.

As a result of the failure of the Indian-designed 5.56 mm INSAS automatic rifle, production of the Indian-designed 5.56 mm INSAS automatic rifle has been discontinued. The project to organise the production of AK-203 assault rifles in India is the centrepiece of an extensive long-term programme of the Indian army to acquire 768,000 automatic rifles of 7.62 mm calibre for the complete re-equipping of linear parts. The Indian army took an extraordinary move as part of this effort by making an “urgent” purchase of 72,400 7.62 x 51 mm SIG Sauer SIG716 automatic rifles manufactured in the United States. However, the Indian Ministry of Defense decided in early 2018 that the 7.62 x 39 mm-chambered Russian AK-103 assault rifle (later AK-203) would be the best choice to acquire the remaining 695,600 weapons.

One of the production aims of the joint venture is to domesticate the manufacturing of AK-203 assault rifles in India completely. Additionally, the joint venture has the potential to improve manufacturing and upgrade in the near future in order to develop potential versions based on the Kalashnikov assault rifle platform.

The rules imposed by Make in India and DAP-2020 have been complied with in their entirety by the Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited. India is the first nation to begin manufacturing the “200th” line of assault guns manufactured by the famed Kalashnikov brand.

The reliability, longevity, and ease of maintenance that are hallmarks of classic AK design were carried over into the “two hundredth” series of automatic machines. In addition, they are fully compliant with the most modern standards for small arms in terms of ergonomics and the ability to employ high-tech accessories.

The military and technological cooperation projects between Russia and India are still being carried out. The parties’ current and future endeavours are centred on maximising their concentration on technological cooperation, which may take the form of joint ventures, licenced production, or collaborative research and development. Rosoboronexport aims to comply with the ToT (transfer of technology) conditions established by the Indian side and the Make in India philosophy.

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