According to a military source, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), which met on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, approved the long-awaited agreement for the manufacturing of 6.71 lakh AK-203 assault rifles in India.
This comes ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India for the annual India-Russia summit early next month. Mr. Putin will visit India on December 6 for the summit, during which the two countries will conduct their first 2+2 ministerial interaction.
In February 2019, the two nations signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA), following which a joint venture, Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL), was established in Korwa, Uttar Pradesh, to manufacture rifles.
The JV is between the Indian Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and the Russian Rosoboron Export and Kalashnikov. To ensure timely execution and delivery, the Army nominated a Major General as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of IRRPL.
The Ministry of Defence has previously issued an RFP to the JV for the procurement of 6.71 lakh rifles, but the final agreement has been delayed due to the exorbitant cost of each gun.
Due to recurrent delays in the purchase of AK-203 assault rifles, India struck a contract in August for 70,000 AK-103 assault weapons to be acquired off the shelf, as The Hindu previously reported. Once the initial payment is received, the deliveries will begin in three months and be finished in six months.
Another contract that is expected to go through is the Igla-S Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) systems. According to official sources, the Ka-226T utility helicopter contract is unlikely to be approved.
According to a Defence Ministry statement, the DAC accepted a proposal for the acquisition of a GSAT-7C communication satellite for the Indian Air Force (IAF) at a cost of Rs 2,236 crore.
According to a Ministry statement, the introduction of the GSAT-7C satellite and ground hubs for Software Defined Radios (SDRs) would improve the armed forces’ capacity to communicate securely beyond Line of Sight (LoS) in all conditions.
“The project entails comprehensive satellite design, development, and launch in India,” it stated.
A dedicated satellite for the IAF has been on the table for a long time. The Navy already operates its own specialised communication satellite.
Source: The Hindu