As part of the Make in India initiative Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to inaugurate a new factory in Korwa, near Amethi, in Uttar Pradesh, on February 28 for the manufacture of Russian designed AK-47/203 rifles in India.
The plant will initially manufacture 7.47 lakh rifles for the Armed forces and then, for the Central police forces. Eventually, perhaps 2 million (or 20 lakh) rifles will be manufactured here.
The Defence Ministry’s proposal is already before the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by the Prime Minister and is likely to be cleared very shortly. A joint venture involving the Indian authorities and Kalashnikov, the manufacturers of the world’s most popular assault rifle, is likely in about a week.
For a considerable while now, the Centre has spoken of Make in India. This factory will provide enough assault rifles to cater to the demand of the Armed forces. The Army, particularly the infantry, has been asking for new weapons and a decision to buy state-of-the-art rifles from Sig Sauer and then, carbines, have already been taken. But only a limited number will be bought from Sig Sauer, the deal being valued at Rs 647 crore.
For the entire army, now of over 1 million men, the Kalashnikov will be the standard weapon. The Russian government has also been very supportive of the project. So far, the Kalashnikovs used by the armed forces have been imported. Now, beginning with perhaps the first 50 rifles, that could be “dedicated” to the nation, the Indian Army and then, the other security forces will be using rifles, designed in Russia, but certainly, made in India.