India is set to start producing the upgraded version of iconic Russian Kalashnikov assault rifles. According to the head of Rosoboronexport, the nation intends to produce more than 600,000 upgraded Kalashnikov assault rifles on its territory.
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According to a senior Russian official, production of the new Kalashnikov AK-203 assault rifles from Russia could begin in India within the year, reports The Indian Express.
Aleksandr Mikheev, the head of Rosoboronexport, the Russian state agency for the worldwide arms trade, stated that the weapon will be produced at a facility in the town of Korwa in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
“We plan 100% localization of the production of the legendary Russian assault rifles in India,” the agency quoted its chief as saying in a statement on Monday. “In the future, the joint enterprise may ramp up capacity and upgrade to manufacture more advanced models based on the Kalashnikov platform.”
In December of last year, New Delhi and Moscow established the joint venture, expanding on earlier direct sales of the weapon to India. According to the newspaper Hindustan Times at the time, the contract, which was estimated to be worth $620 million, called for the production of over 600,000 AK-203s on Indian soil.
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The AK-203 is a member of Kalashnikov’s “series 200” of small arms, which also contains a number of other versions with various widely used round calibers and barrel lengths. The series includes enhancements like the Picatinny rail and stock adjustments as tuning options. The 7.62×39mm round is intended for use with the AK-203 assault rifle.
Rosoboronexport provided an update on the joint venture with India ahead of the Defexpo India 2022 weapons exhibition, which is set to take place this week. For decades, Russia and India have worked closely in defense, and they have previously established joint ventures to manufacture armaments in India.