India, Russia reach much awaited AK-203 deal, sign agreement

India, Russia reach much awaited AK-203 deal, sign agreement

India and Russia today concluded a big deal worth Rs 5,100 crore for the joint production of AK-203 assault rifles at a facility in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi district.

The deal was finalised at a bilateral meeting between defence minister Rajnath Singh and his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu.

The two countries also renewed their military-technical cooperation arrangement for 2021-31, as per sources.

This development comes ahead of the annual summit between PM Modi and President Vladimir Putin Monday evening.

Besides, bilateral meet, the other events that unfolded include a meeting between EAM S Jaishankar and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. It also saw the inaugural 2+2 dialogue of the defence and foreign ministers.

Agreements in trade, space, technology and energy are likely to be signed during the summit.

Both the countries are looking forward to an intense engagement on issues such as bilateral cooperation in trade, connectivity and energy to regional security concerns, like the situation in Afghanistan.

The government Saturday also approved the plan to manufacture AK-203 rifles in UP. It will be under a joint venture of the Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited.

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had also approved the project last week.

Indo-Russia deal

The AK-203 rifles will replace INSAS rifles. Vladimir Putin’s visit is going to have a major defence and security overhang.

The delivery of the first squadron of S-400 air defence systems is also likely to be completed anytime.

Russian officials stated that the delivery of components for the air defence systems has already begun.

This comes in the wake of US threats to impose secondary sanctions on the S-400 deal under (CAATSA).

India also aims to focus on trade and investment opportunities in Russia’s Far East.

This is Putin’s second foreign visit since the Covid-19 outbreak. His decision to travel to New Delhi now reflects the importance attached by Russia to its special and strategic partnership with India.

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