Giving an impetus to their time-tested defence partnership, India and Russia today signed an agreement for joint production of over six lakh AK-203 assault rifles at a manufacturing facility in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi. The two countries also finalised another accord on military cooperation for 10 years.
The rifles will be manufactured for the Indian armed forces at a cost of around Rs 5000 crore.
The agreements were signed at the 20th meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Military-Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-M&MTC).
The meeting, co-chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Russian counterpart Gen Sergey Shoigu, coincided with the annual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two sides also discussed ways to further boost strategic cooperation including ramping up joint production of military equipment.
The two countries signed a pact on amending the agreement on cooperation in the field of manufacturing of the Kalashnikov series of small arms that was originally sealed in February 2019.
Another agreement was signed on the protocol of the 20th IRIGC-M&MTC, sources said.
The most important of the four agreements was the pact on manufacturing of 6,01,427 AK-203 assault rifles (7.63X39mm) through an Indo-Russia Rifles Private Limited (IRPL). The 10-year pact on military cooperation is a renewal of an existing framework.
In his opening remarks at the meeting, Rajnath termed Russia as India’s long-standing special and privileged strategic partner and said that the relations were “time-tested” and based on common interests in multilateralism, global peace and prosperity, mutual understanding and trust.