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As assault rifle deal awaits conclusion, localisation plan awaits progress

AK-203 assault rifles.   | Photo Credit: Dinakar Peri

As the deal for the manufacture of over six lakh AK-203 assault rifles in India awaits formal conclusion at the India-Russia summit on December 6, the localisation plan to be concluded between Advanced Weapons & Equipment India Ltd. (AWEIL) and the Joint Venture, Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL), is yet to be finalised,, according to official sources.

Following the corporatisation of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and formation of seven Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), the Indian partner in the Joint Venture IRRPL has been changed to AWEIL, one of the seven DPSUs.

The draft contract for localisation was to be shared by AWEIL by November 15 but has been delayed, it is learnt.

Last week, the Defence Acquisition Council approved the final deal ahead of the visit of Russian President on December 6. The number of rifles has also been changed from 6.71 lakh to 6.01 lakh after an off the shelf purchase of 70,000 AK-103 rifles by the IAF a few months back, a defence official said.

The two countries had signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) in February 2019 following which a joint venture, Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL), was set up at Korwa in Uttar Pradesh to manufacture the rifles. Earlier the JV was between the OFB and the Rosoboronexport and Kalashnikov.

In all, the deal consists of three contracts — between the Ministry of Defence and the IRRPL, between the IRRPL and the Rosoboronexport and between the IRRPL and AWEIL as part of its obligation to localise the production of the rifles in 32 months, which is a crucial part of the IGA as part of the Make in India efforts, it was learnt.

For smooth and quick implementation of the contract and indigenise the manufacturing, all agreements need to be concluded, another official said. Otherwise the main contract would be signed but the localisation plan would be delayed, the official said.

AWEIL has been incorporated under the Companies Act 2013 on August 14 and commencement of business took place on October 1 notified by the Department of Defence Production (DDP).


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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 5:57:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/as-assault-rifle-deal-awaits-conclusion-localisation-plan-awaits-progress/article37772149.ece

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