New Delhi, August 28 ( KINS ) : At a time when terrorist groups operating in India are likely to get weapons left behind by American troops in Afghanistan, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has signed a deal for acquiring 70,000 AK-103 assault rifles from Russia under emergency provisions to replace its existing inventory of INSAS rifles.
The India Air Force has a requirement of over 1.5 lakh new assault rifles and the new AK-103 rifles expected to come within the next few months into the service would strengthen its capability to tackle terrorist attacks in a much better way.
“The contract worth around Rs 300 crore was signed last week under emergency provisions to buy 70,000 AK-103 assault rifles from Russia. The weapons would be first provided to troops in field areas like Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar along with sensitive air bases,” government sources said.
The remaining part of the requirement would be met after India and Russia sign a deal to produce the more advanced AK-203 together within India. The contract for the AK-203 assault rifles is being processed under the Army which requires around 6.5 lakh of these rifles to strengthen its troops’ firepower.
A small portion of the IAF requirement was met by the acquisition of around 4,000 Sig Sauer assault rifles that have been procured as part of a larger contract by the Indian Army.
In the last couple of years especially after the Chinese aggression on the Eastern Ladakh front, Indian defence forces have hastened the speed of modernisation of basic weapon systems as troops open the front have already been provided with 1.5 lakh American Sig Sauers along with over 16,000 Negev Light Machine Guns.
The AK-103 assault rifles are already in the existing inventory of the Marine Commandos of the Indian Navy which uses them in operations in the Kashmir valley where they are deployed in the Wular lake.
The emergency procurements of the Indian armed forces have allowed them to fill the critical gaps in their preparedness in war-fighting. The forces have been given the freedom to choose the weapons they want to buy and these can be acquired under the route which allowed them to get deliveries within one year.
The AK-103 is an upgraded version of the legendary and deadly AK-47. The rifles would also be provided to the Garud special forces who are deployed across the country at airbases.
The requirement for upgraded personal weapons has been felt by the IAF for a long time but the process gained speed post-Pathankot attack in 2016. The IAF now also lays a lot of stress on the personal combat capabilities of its troops along with using their technical abilities. (Agencies)