At a time when Indian soldiers need new modern rifles due to heightened border tensions with both China and Pakistan, the much-touted project to make the iconic Kalashnikov assault rifles in India has run into rough weather yet again.
The defence ministry (MoD) earlier this month was forced to appoint a costing committee due to the “unreasonable and unacceptable” price quoted by the Indo-Russia joint venture to make 6.71 lakh AK-203 rifles, a derivative of the famous AK-47, at Korwa ordnance factory in Amethi district of Uttar Pradesh.
Sources said defence minister Rajnath Singh discussed pending issues in the rifle project during his ongoing visit to Russia, where he met Russian deputy prime minister Yury Borisov and defence minister General Sergei Shoigu on Tuesday. The five-member costing committee, set up by the MoD on June 11 by invoking a special clause of the Defence Procurement Procedure, has been asked to fix a “reasonable price” for manufacturing the basic version of the 7.62×39 mm calibre AK-203 rifle.
The joint venture IRRPL between the Indian Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and Russian Rosonboronexport and Kalashnikov compa