India and Russia are to finalize a deal for AK-47 203 rifles during a visit to Moscow by defence minister Rajnath Singh.
The army has a requirement for around 770,000 AK-203 rifles, of which 100,000 will be imported and the rest will be manufactured at the Indian facility.
The rifles will be manufactured in India as part of the joint venture Indo-Russia Rifles Limited, established between the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), the Kalashnikov Concern and Rosoboronexport — the Russian state agency for military exports.
The Indian OFB would own a majority stake of 50.5 percent in IRPL while the Kalashnikov Group would have a 42 percent share. Russia’s state-owned export agency, Rosoboronexport, would own the remaining 7.5 percent.
The 7.62×39 mm Russian weapon will be produced at the Korwa Ordnance Factory in Uttar Pradesh, which was inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year. Modi has emphasized that the AK-203 rifles will help the country's security forces fight militants in counter-terror operations.
The cost per rifle is expected to be around $1,100, including the cost of technology transfer and of setting up the manufacturing unit.
The AK-203 is the latest and most advanced version of the AK-47 rifle, which will replace theIndian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56x45 mm assault rifle. In use since 1996, the INSAS has problems with jamming, and magazine cracking at higher altitudes in the Himalayas.
*CORRECTION: The headline and text of this article have been amended in order to fix a grammar mistake and reflect the fact that the deal is yet to be finalised.