The Indo-Russian plan to make assault rifles in Amethi has missed another key milestone over differences in pricing and the travel ban imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, making it highly unlikely for the factory to start operations this year.
As per the plan, the OFB-Kalashnikov joint venture (JV) was to arrive at a fair price for setting up and producing almost seven lakh rifles by May-end. This decision was crucial as official plans were in place to commence work at the factory by this year-end.
However, sources said that the project has hit a roadblock now and with a resolution unlikely soon, the factory is not expected to start operations this year. A fresh price bid was to be submitted but commercial terms could not be agreed upon, given the complex nature of the project that involves complete transfer of technology and building the rifles completely in India for the armed forces as well as possible exports in the future.
Besides its political significance, the factory is expected to generate at least 200 new jobs, including those of specialists and would be geared to produce over 70,000 AK 203 rifles annually.