New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Making it once again clear that boosting self-reliance in India's defence sector is its top priority, the central government approved a plan to manufacture more than five lakh AK-203 assault rifles at Korwa in Uttar Pradesh's Amethi, reported news agency PTI quoting government sources.

According to the PTI sources, the project will be done in partnership with Russia that will provide opportunities to various MSMEs and other defence industries for the supply of raw materials and components, creating new employment opportunities.

This project, the government sources said, will help Uttar Pradesh become a defence manufacturing hub of India.

"It reflects the ever increasing paradigm shift in defence acquisition from buy (global) to Make in India. This endeavour will be done in partnership with Russia and reflects the deepening partnership between the two countries in the defence sector," PTI quoted the sources as saying.

Specifications of AK-203:

The 7.62 X 39mm calibre AK-203 is a gas-operated select-fire assault rifle, the latest iterations of the AK series designed by Soviet Lieutenant General Mikhail Kalashnikov. AK-203, which weighs around 3.8 kg and has a barrel length of 415 mm, will be manufactured by Indo-Russia Rifles Private Limited in Amethi. The assault rifle, with an effective range of 300 meters, can fire 700 rounds per minute with a muzzle velocity of 730 metres per second.

How AK-203 will help in making India's defence sector Atmanirbhar?

AK-203 will replace the in-service INSAS rifle inducted over three decades back. According to reports, the Indian Armed Forces need more than 6.70 lakh AK-203 assault rifles to replace the INSAS.

PTI sources have said that AK-203s are "lightweight, robust and easy to use modern assault rifles with proven technology that will enhance the combat potential of soldiers to adequately meet present and envisaged operational challenges".

They said that the assault rifle "will enhance the operational effectiveness of the Indian Army in counterterrorism and counter-insurgency operations".

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma