Russia had announced plans to begin with the manufacturing of AK-203 automatic assault rifles at Korwa Ordnance Factory in Amethi. The development is seen as a significant employment opportunity for the locals. They have for decades been devastated by the oppressive rule of Bua-Bhajita in the state of Uttar Pradesh in addition to the pathetic tenure of Rahul Gandhi as their Member of Parliament. More significantly, the move would give wings to the “Make in India” visions of PM Modi and would not only pave the way for ‘defence exports’ but also furnish better assault rifles to the Indian defence forces.
AK-203 rifles: Empowering Economic Progress of Amethi
Amethi, a small town in Uttar Pradesh, which earlier garnered limelight only for wrong reasons, owing to the despotic politics of the region has recently gained prominence with the production of the AK-203 assault rifles. The AK-203 is a modernized version of the AK-47, one of the most widely used and recognized firearms in the world.
Presently, the Indian Army primarily uses a variety of assault rifles, most prominent being the INSAS (Indian Small Arms System) and the AK-47. The widely used AK-47 is a versatile Soviet-designed assault rifle and has been in service since 1949. The AK-47 that is best known for its durability, reliability and ease of handling. It is amongst the personal favourites of most combat soldiers in India. Therefore, the recent development facilitating the production of AK-203 assault rifles, an upgraded version of AK-47, would be much to the delight of the Indian troops.
Indian Russian Joint Initiative
The AK-203 assault rifles are being produced by the Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL). The incentive is a joint venture between the Ordnance Factory Board of India and Russia’s Kalashnikov Concern. The factory, located in Amethi, has been designated to carry out the operations and will have the capacity to produce up to 750,000 AK-203 rifles per year.
The development will boost the defence production of India and would provide the nation with indigenous weaponry. As per Rosoboron export Director General Alexander Mikheev, the “Korwa Ordnance Factory in Amethi has produced the first batch of 7.62 mm Kalashnikov AK-203 assault rifles. And the beginning of deliveries to the Indian Army is expected soon.”
India has long struggled to meet the demands of replacing outdated firearms as the previous regimes lacked the sufficient will power. The Indian military and police forces were in dire need to modernize the weapons, and the AK-203 will help to fill that gap. Further, as per Alexander Mikheev’s claim some 7 lakh such rifles are needed to meet the requirements of the Indian troops. Soon, the AK-203 would be the main hand-held weapon for the Indian troops.
Moreover, Sergey Chemezov, the General Director of Rostec said that, “With the launch of series production of Kalashnikov AK-203 assault rifles, high-quality, convenient and modern small arms will begin to enter service with India’s Defence and law enforcement agencies.”
With the available capacity of the Amethi factory, notably all the defence personnel in India and the other law enforcement agencies can be revamped with the 7.62×39 mm assault rifle. However, experts claim that the full-scale production of the rifles is expected to be reached within 2-3 years.
In accordance with the prevailing Rs 5124 crore deal between India and Russia, the initial 70,000 AK-203 rifles shall be manufactured within India, with a gradual escalation in the degree of indigenization, progressing from a mere 5% to a commendable 70%. The remaining rifles shall be entirely produced within the country.
India becoming Self-Sufficient in Assault Rifles
As a consequence, the Amethi factory shall be responsible for the production of six hundred thousand rifles. The factory will also be able to export the rifles to other countries, making India rise to the stature of a significant exporter of defence equipment to the world.
The move is an upshot of the “Make in India” initiative, launched by the Indian government. The development has multi-faceted benefits for the nation and would promote the country as a global manufacturing hub.
Further, the program seeks to increase the share of the defence industry in the country’s GDP, create jobs and reduce the dependence on imports. The initiative also aims to enhance the participation of the private sector in the defence production and attract foreign investment in the defence sector.
By promoting the manufacturing of defence equipment within the country, the “Make in India” initiative aims to not only strengthen the country’s self-reliance in defence, but also position India as a major player in the global defence market.
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