Agencies, New Delhi
The government-owned Ordinance Factory Board (OFB) has proposed to make Kalashnikov rifles in India to eliminate the import of small arms for the armed forces and para military forces. OFB has sought the government approval to make these rifles indigenously, Deputy Director General of OFB Arup Kumar Banerjee has said. This also involves a move to equip the Indian Army with AK-103, which is a standard issue for the Russian Army.
‘’The idea is to eliminate the import of small arms,’’ Mr Banerjee said in an interview to Defence news journal, India strategic. India has a huge requirement of rifles of this kind, with 150,000 AK-series assault rifles being imported for the Central Paramilitary forces alone. Russian Kalashnikov is keen on a joint venture entailing the setting up of a new plant for the manufacture of AK-47, 56 and 103 variants, said Mr Banerjee. “But, OFB has also given another option for Government approval of licensed co-production at an existing OFB facility,” he added.
According to a report, OFB’s understanding is that the Indian facility will be used to sell Kalashnikovs worldwide. Kalashnikov variants are the world’s best-selling assault rifles. An estimated 100 million Kalashnikovs have already been sold. “Local manufacture of Kalashnikov could establish AK-103 as a very serious contender in the standard issue weapon category for the Indian Army. AK-103 has a higher rate of firing than AK-47 and 56 variants, is lighter, and has PVC furniture,” it said.