Indian Army Receives Russian AK-203 Assault Rifles

  • 21 May 2024

The Indian Army has commenced receiving the Russian AK-203 assault rifles, overcoming back-to-back delays attributed partly to the conflict in Ukraine and payment issues.

  • With over 27,000 rifles handed over so far, the indigenisation level stands at around 25%, signaling progress in the Indo-Russian joint venture established in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The Indo-Russian joint venture at Korwa in Uttar Pradesh has handed over 27,000 AK-203 rifles to the Indian Army, with an additional 8,000 rifles scheduled for delivery within the next two weeks.
  • Under a contract valued at over ₹5,000 crores signed in July 2021, the joint venture is tasked with manufacturing over 6.1 lakh AK-203 assault rifles in India, with technology transfer from Russia.
  • Initial production is set to be in India, with a phased increase in localisation from 5% to 70%, followed by full-scale production with 100% localisation within 2-3 years.
  • Despite systematic indigenisation efforts, the process is expected to be gradual, with the aim of achieving 70% indigenous content within the stipulated timeline.
  • Earlier procurement of 70,000 AK-103 assault rifles in August 2021 supplemented the Army's arsenal, as it seeks to replace the indigenous INSAS rifles with modern alternatives.
  • The induction of SIG-716 assault rifles from the U.S. and subsequent repeat orders highlight the Army's quest for modernization amidst delays in the AK-203 deal.