The Indian Ministry of Defense is expected to soon sign a contract with a factory in the state of Uttar Pradesh to supply the army with Kalashnikov AK-203 assault rifles, the Economic Times newspaper reported, citing Army Chief Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane.
In June of last year, Russia and India agreed on proposals to begin the production of Russian-made weapons by the end of 2020. Informed sources told the Indian media outlet back then that an agreement was reached to commence the production at a factory in Amethi district.
"Negotiations are at an advanced stage.
There were some last-minute hitches and hiccups and those have been ironed out now. I hope the final contract will be signed soon," Naravane told the newspaper.
According to the media outlet, the rifles are expected to cost under 70,000 rupees ($958) apiece, while the US-made weapons imported by India under an emergency order cost almost 90,000 rupees.
In September 2019, New Delhi placed an order for AK-203 and military equipment worth $14.5 billion and later announced plans to launch a joint venture in India to produce more than 670,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles.