A leading Russian armament firm has agreed to allow India to start licensed production of Kalashnikov or AK-47 automatic rifles, it was announced here on Friday.
The Izhmash concern, which makes automobiles and motorcycles in addition to weapons, has agreed to a bilateral project that stipulates annual production of 100,000 Kalashnikov automatic rifles in India beginning 2005.
The press department of the Russian Federal Agency for Industry quoted Alexander Zavarzin, director of the foreign economic activity department of Izhmash, as saying that Russia would supply the necessary equipment to India and some elements for the assembly of rifles.
India will develop its own facilities and boost the share of rifle elements produced by it.
The rifles are to be used by the Indian Army and law enforcement authorities.
India would not be entitled to export the rifles to other countries, the press department said.
The value of the deal could not be immediately ascertained.
The Indian Army and paramilitary forces engaged in counter-insurgency operations currently use a large number of AK-47 rifles acquired from Russia and east European countries.