Amid a series of allegations over the Rafale deal, the Narendra Modi government has rejected a proposal by Russia to make the Adani Group a partner for a joint venture to manufacture the modern AK-series assault rifles, which are meant for the Indian Army. The proposal to make Kalashnikov Concern's AK-103 rifle -- the third generation of the Kalashnikov assault rifles and a thorough upgrade of the world known AK47/AKM -- was floated after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited Russia in April.
Though Russia has proposed to manufacture the assault rifles as part of a joint venture, India has turned down the proposal as both the countries failed to decide upon their eligible private partners. The proposal says that only a Russia company having an experience in manufacturing AK-47 series is eligible for the project. However, the country had proposed make the Adani Group as its Indian partner for the project.
After no consensus over the private player, the Indian Ordnance Factories could also become the production agency for the project. The AK-47 is currently used by the Indian Army, police and paramilitary forces but its production was stopped after the World War 2.
Just like AK-47, the AK-103 rifle also uses the same 7.62x39 round and polymer parts to reduce its weight. The AK103 has plastic folding buttstock that ensures convenience on a march, during transportation and landing operations. The weapon can even fire with buttstock folded. It can carry a 40-mm under-barrel grenade launcher or a knife-bayonet. Currently, AK-103 is used by the Indian Navy's Marine Commando Force in limited quantity.
The Congress has repeatedly accused the Modi government of 'favouritism' and 'non-transparency' over the Rafale deal with France. Under the deal between India and France, India would buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France, and as part of the offset obligation, the French Dassault Aviation would invest 100 million euros in India to make the components for the fighter jets and Falcon civilian aircraft.
(Edited by Manoj Sharma)