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The Indian Army has begun receiving the long-awaited AK-203 assault rifles after a joint venture with Russia faced setbacks. The delays were attributed to the ongoing war in Ukraine and issues with payments.

According to official sources, an initial batch of 27,000 rifles has already been delivered to the Army by the Indo-Russian joint venture located at Korwa in Uttar Pradesh.

“There were initial delays, but everything is on track now,” an official familiar with the deal said. “The Army has received 27,000 rifles, and another 8,000 are expected to be delivered within the next two weeks. Currently, around 25% of the rifles have components manufactured in India.”

The AK-203 is an updated version of the classic AK-47 assault rifle. It boasts improved ergonomics, a folding stock, and Picatinny rails for mounting sights and other accessories. The Indian Army is phasing out its older INSAS rifles in favor of more modern weaponry, and the AK-203 is expected to play a significant role in this modernization effort.

The Indo-Russian joint venture is also expected to increase the indigenous content of the rifles to 70% within the next two years. This will not only reduce dependence on foreign imports but also create jobs and boost the Indian defense industry.

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