Russia terms India's move to buy Sig Sauer guns as 'unusual decision'
NEW DELHI [Maha Media]: Amid America-Russia tussle over the supply of arms to India, Russian gunmaker Kalashnikov expressed apprehensions over Indian Army`s choice to procure US-made Sig Sauer assault rifle as an "unusual decision".
India has bought 72,400 SiGSauer assault rifles for its frontline infantry troops while it is going for a joint venture with Russian Kalashnikov to acquire over 6.5 lakh AK-203 assault rifles for replacing the INSAS rifles.
"I don`t know what is the purpose for the Sig Sauer rifles because normally this kind of rifle will be used as a designate marksman rifle, as a semi-automatic sniper rifle and using that as a basic infantry rifle is a very unusual decision. We don`t know what the plan is. How they want to use it? What troops they want to give it to," Kalashnikov Group representative Alexander Onokoy told said.
Comparing the two rifles, he said, "When we are talking about AK-203, we have to understand that it is a proven system. For basic infantry rifle, we believe it is the best option. As for 716 (Sig Sauer), there is a lot of discussion in the expert community because it is using a 7.62*51 round that has a pretty short recoil, that is generally not necessarily handled very well by every soldier. It is up to the Indian Army to decide what they want to use but we think that in this role as the basic infantry rifle, AK-203 is the best option available."
Highlighting the features of AK-203, he said, "AK-203 is a new generation assault rifle that is going to be produced by a joint venture called Indo-Russia Rifles in Amethi. This is a new generation of the legendary AK-47. An Indian soldier deserves the most reliable weapons available and this weapon is definitely an AK. It has a lot of new features."
"Everything is very easy to use. Indian soldiers already know how to use an AK so this weapon will be a welcome addition and we see a lot of soldiers and officers coming here and they are really glad that this weapon is going to replace the INSAS rifle," he added.
In December last year, the Indian Army has started inducting its newly acquired American SiG Sauer assault rifles in operations.
In addition, the Indian Army had also started getting supplies of ammunition for its sniper rifles as more than 21 lakh rounds have been ordered from vendors.
"The first lot of 10,000 SiG 716 assault rifles have arrived in India and has been sent to the Northern Command," top Indian Army sources said.
India had signed an over Rs 700 crore contract to equip the Indian Army with 72,400 new assault rifles.
The rifles are being supplied by US arms maker Sig Sauer. They will be manufactured in the US and will be supplied within a year since the contract for the new guns is being made under fast-track procurement (FTP).
A majority of these rifles - 66,000 - are for the Indian Army. The remaining will be divided between the Indian Navy (2,000) and the Indian Air Force (4,000).
The Sig Sauer SIG716 7.62x51 mm assault rifles will replace the Indian-made 5.56x45mm Insas rifles.
The Indian Army will also receive a major boost with the induction of more than 7 lakh AK-203 assault rifles which are going to be produced in the joint venture between India and Russia.
On March 3 last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the plant that will produce 7.5 lakh AK-203 assault rifles at Kauhar in Amethi as part of a joint venture between world-renowned arms manufacturer Kalashnikov and Ordnance Factory Korwa.
The factory will produce around 7.5 lakh of the most advanced rifles, the AK 203. This is a successor of the historic AK 47 which continues to be in service in many militaries across the world.