India and Russia signed Rs 5,100 crore deal on Monday for the joint production of over 500,000 AK-203 assault rifles at a factory in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi region, the government officials said.
A bilateral meeting between defence minister Rajnath Singh and his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu sealed the deal. The two countries also renewed its military-technical cooperation agreement for the years 2021-31.
“India values Russia’s significant support for the country. We hope that by working together, we can bring peace, prosperity, and stability to the region as a whole. Rajnath Singh tweeted on Monday, “I am pleased that a number of agreements, contracts and protocols relevant to small arms and military cooperation have been inked.”
The news comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin prepare to meet for their annual summit on Monday evening. Other engagements slated before the summit include a meeting between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, as well as the inaugural 2+2 conversation between the defence and foreign ministers.
During the summit, trade, space, technology, and energy agreements are likely to be reached.
The two sides anticipate close cooperation on topics ranging from bilateral trade, connectivity, and energy to regional security concerns such as the situation in Afghanistan.
The government approved a plan on Saturday to manufacture AK-203 rifles in Uttar Pradesh under the Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited, a joint venture founded by Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited and Munitions India Limited, as well as Russia’s Rosoboronexport and Kalashnikov.
The Rs. 5100 crore project was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), which is headed by PM Modi, last week. Once manufactured, the AK 203 assault rifles will take the place of INSAS rifles, which are being used by India since more than three decades.
As previously reported, Putin’s visit will have a significant defence and security ramification. India is expecting to get the delivery of the first squadron of S 400 air defence systems from Russia, anytime soon.
The first squadron of S-400 air defence systems is a part of a $5.4 billion contract with Russia.