According to the officials familiar with the development said that a much-awaited deal worth ₹5,100 crores with regards to the joint production of more than 5,00,000 AK-203 assault Rifles at one of the facilities in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi district, India and Russia has concluded the deal on Monday while it was finalized at a bilateral meeting between the Indian Defence Minister and his Russian counterpart.
Apart from the above, officials also said that both Nations have also renewed their military-technical cooperation arrangement for 2021 to 2031.
During the Summit agreements in technology, space, energy and trade are expected to be signed which stands apart from the bilateral meeting between the two defence ministers.
Why go after the AK-203?
According to official reports, the AK-203 rifles are 7.62 2 x 39 mm calibre rifles that are intended to replace the INSAS rifles which have been in service for over three decades. Besides this, an effective range of 300 metres or probably more than three football fields is equipped by the modern version of the Russian origin rifle which is also light in weight along with being robust.
Other similar rifles with less stopping power fire smaller 5.56 mm rounds, the AK-203 rifle on the other hand fires the much larger 7.62 mm rounds which have better penetrating power. That said, Hi-Tech add-ons like special sights and grips which prove to be useful for special forces missions are enabled to be used by the modern technology that has been put in the new Rifles.
Vision with blinkers
With regards to the issues ranging from energy, connectivity, and bilateral cooperation in trade to regional security concerns such as the situation in Afghanistan, the two sides are looking forward to intense engagement on the same.
Under a joint venture called the Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited, the government approved the plan to manufacture the above-cited Rifles in Uttar Pradesh while the joint venture was formed by Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited along with Munitions India Limited and Russia’s Rosoboronexport and Kalashnikov.
The earlier deal that turned controversial
It was earlier reported that the delivery of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems has been started by Russia to India. It was also said by Russia’s Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) that the deliveries are under process as planned.
In order to purchase five units of the above-cited S-400 air defence missile systems, a $5 billion deal was signed with Russia in October 2018 by India despite being warned by the Trump administration that if the deal goes ahead, the contract might invite unwanted US sanctions. Back in 2019, the first tranche of payment of around $800 million was made by India.
The CAATSA Story
In response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea back in 2014 along with its alleged meddling in the 2016 United States Presidential elections, in order to impose sanctions on those countries which have the willingness to purchase major defence hardware from Russia, CAATSA is a tough United States law that authorises the administration to impose such sanctions. Its provisions have served as an important tool for the Government of the United States in order to discourage Russian arms purchase across the world as it includes sanctions targeting Russia’s defence and intelligence sectors.
Apprehensions have been there saying that Washington may impose similar punitive measures on India as the United States did on Turkey over the procurement of S-400 missile systems.
On the other hand, the United States President has been urged by two powerful US senators not to impose the provisions of the punitive Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) against India with regards to the purchase of the S-400 Surface to Air Missile system from Russia in the previous month.
With an objective for meeting manpower needs, India is also leaving its focus on the trade and investment opportunities in Russia Far East including in coal and Diamonds as well. Around 11 governors from the Far East have been invited to the Vibrant Gujarat meet of 2022 as a part of these efforts.