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India requests quick delivery of missiles, ammo from Russia; Amethi factory to launch before summit

India has requested a quick delivery of missiles, ammunition and assault rifles from Russia under the emergency purchase route during a visit by a top delegation to Moscow led by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

The requests – which include spares for the army –are believed to have been looked at positively by Russia, with an assurance that quick deliveries would be made, considering the tense situation on the border with China.

Sources said that the two sides also discussed the project to manufacture Kalashnikov rifles at a factory in Amethi under a joint venture approach with OFB and it has been agreed that the facility would be launched by the time Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin meet for a summit tentatively planned for October this year.

It is learnt that India has requested in particular for Igla S anti air missiles, assault rifles and ammunition for various Russian origin systems – things that would be needed if the border conflict with China is extended over the coming weeks.

Earlier this month, the government had given emergency procurement powers to the three armed forces, in which orders worth Rs 500 crore could be undertaken at the earliest to meet urgent requirements.

As reported, after his meeting with the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had said that an assurance has been given that weapon systems requested by India would be delivered at the earliest. “All our proposals have received positive response from the Russian side. I am fully satisfied with my discussions,” the minister had said, without getting into details.

Besides the emergency purchases, the Amethi Rifle factory is a priority area for both sides and has already been delayed by almost a year due to differences on the pricing mechanism. As first reported by ET, a costing committee has now been set up by the defence ministry to take the project ahead. The point of contention has been the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) that has fixed an unusually high cost for technology transfer and manufacturing.

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