India and Russia inaugurated a production plant to manufacture AK-203 Kalashnikov assault rifles in the northeastern Indian town of Korwa. The project stipulates manufacturing more than 700,000 rifles with gradual and full localization of production, Director of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Dmitry Shugayev told reporters.
“The plant’s capacity allows [the Indian authorities] to fully equip personnel from the Indian security forces [with the rifles], and the sides can agree on an increase of output and production upgrade if necessary”, Director General of Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport Alexander Mikheev said.
The plant was inaugurated by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who later tweeted saying that at the facility AK203, one of the advanced rifles in the world, will be made.
“I express my gratitude to my friend President Vladimir Putin, this venture was made possible in such a short time by his support”, said Modi. He further added that the joint venture will not only provide major support to the Indian infantry but will also be a revenue earner in terms of exports to third countries.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his greetings. “I’m sure that launching a new enterprise will contribute to enhancing India’s defense potential, further development of scientific and production basis of the country’s economy and provide for creating new jobs for skilled workforce and give impetus for professional education and training personnel,” Putin said in a telegram, according to the Kremlin website.
The plant will become another symbol of friendship and cooperation between the two countries, Putin stressed. The production of small arms based on Russian technologies will help India meet the demands of law enforcement personnel, he noted.
Russian-Indian talks on the production of Kalashnikov rifles in India started back in 2015.
The 200th series of Kalashnikov rifles was officially introduced abroad earlier this year at the IDEX 2019 in the United Arab Emirates and Aero Indi 2019 in India’s Bangalore.