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    An Indian army soldier takes up a position near the site of a gunbattle between Indian army soldiers and rebels inside an army brigade headquarters near the border with Pakistan, known as the Line of Control (LoC), in Uri on September 18, 2016

    India Sets Sights on Obtaining 185,000 Assault Rifles to Replace Old Weapons

    © AFP 2019 / TAUSEEF MUSTAFA
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    India is looking to the global market to procure basic rifles for the Indian Army, having failed to find a suitable domestic replacement for its 20-year old INSAS rifles.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) India is once again eyeing top global small arms suppliers to help provide basic assault rifles for the Indian army's 1.3 million soldiers. The Indian defense ministry is initiating the process of acquiring a 7.62 mm x 51mm assault rifle to replace its existing Indian small arms system (INSAS) rifle.

    India intends to acquire a total of 185,000 such rifles; it requires 65,000 rifles immediately. India cancelled a global tender for assault rifles in 2015 that had been floated in 2011. The Indian Army had pinned its hopes on finding a domestic manufacturer but failed to do so.

    "The rifle should be capable of achieving accuracy better than three Minutes of Angle up to a range of minimum 500 meters. The rifle should have an integrated open sight and a multi-option telescopic sight. The rifle has to be compatible with all modern sights and accessories and provisions for mounting the same," reads the Request for Information floated by India's Ministry of Defense.

    The Indian Army has used INSAS rifles since 1996. The government had initiated a process to replace these obsolete rifles in 2011, and requested 66,000 rifles ready to use while approximately 100,000 rifles had to be manufactured in India under a transfer of technology arrangement. Companies from Israel, Czech Republic, Italy and Switzerland had taken interest in the tender, but due to the ambitiously high requirements of the Indian Army, nothing materialized.

     

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