Ministry of Defence India has approved purchase of 73,000 new assault rifles from US arms-maker SIG Sauer. The company’s SIG-716 will replace indigenous INSAS assault rifles. They will be procured on a fast track basis.
The US firm will be given a year to deliver the rifles once the contract is signed. The India army needs close to about 6,50,000 automatic rifles.
India is also in talks with Russia to procure licence for the AK-103 so that it can be made in Indian factories. a tender was floated for this in August 2018.
The Indian Army earlier in 2017 rejected several rifles made by the Rifle Factory, Ishapore due to failed tests.Then the army started looking for global players to furnish the demand.
In all the Army needs close to about 11 lakh small arms, including 6.22 lakh assault rifles, 4.43 lakh carbines, 6,000 sniper files and 41,000 Light machine guns.
This weaponry is needed by units including the infantry unit, special forces unit, counter insurgency unit, rashtriya rifles and Assam rifles units. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has accorded approval to these weapons.