INDIA has finalised a deal with Russia to buy a sizeable number of AK-103 series of assault rifles for the Indian Army under the provisions of emergency procurement, people familiar with the development said on Friday. The Army is implementing a mega infantry modernisation programme under which a large number of light machine guns, battle carbines and assault rifles are being purchased to replace its ageing and obsolete weapons.
“A deal has been finalised with Russia for direct purchase of a batch of AK-103 series of assault rifles,” one of sources said without specifying the number of rifles or the cost of procurement. There is no official announcement on the deal yet. The people said, the rifles are being procured under the emergency financial powers granted to the three Services to make urgent purchases. In October 2017, the Indian Army began the process to acquire around seven lakh rifles, 44,000 light machine guns (LMGs) and nearly 44,600 carbines.
The Government has accorded priority to the modernisation of the Armed Forces and the infantry modernisation has been initiated as part of the larger process to further enhance the combat capability of the Army.