New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday will inaugurate the Indo-Russia Rifles Ltd plant at the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) Korwa in Uttar Pradesh's Amethi, where 7,50,000 units of 'Made in India' AK-203 assault rifles will be produced.

In order to modernise the security forces, guarding the Indian borders against Pakistan and China, the Narendra Modi government has quickened the process of delivering these assault rifles.

What is AK

The AK-47 assault rifle was developed in 1947 by the iconic Mikhail Kalashnikov — the Red Army Lieutenant General — who defended Russia against German assault during the Second World War. The gun is famous for being solider-friendly. AK, compared to its counterparts, is cheap and best for close combat.

A Kalashnikov rifle belongs to a series of automatic rifles based on the original design of Kalashnikov. They are officially known in Russian as 'Avtomat Kalashnikova', but are widely known as 'Kalashnikovs', 'AKs', or in Russian slang, as a 'Kalash'. They were originally manufactured in the erstwhile Soviet Union, but these rifles and their variants are now manufactured in many other countries.

What does the AK project mean to India

The aim of this project is to immediately deliver the guns to the infantry and then gradually these ‘Made in India’ guns will replace weapons used by the paramilitary forces and Central police forces. This means that soon the country will have a weapon which is completely India-made. This will not only ease procurement and repair of the assault rifles, but will develop India as a major exporter of the guns.

AK made an entry in India during the Punjab insurgency in the 1970s and 1980s. This assault weapon has been the top choice of men in action as it the ‘most reliable’ gun. Rashtriya Rifles (RR), the elite Indian paramilitary force, trained for counter-insurgency operations, is completely equipped with the Kalashnikov and it has been proven extremely useful. In fact, the RR crest consists of the Ashoka Chakra and two crossed AK-47 rifles with fixed bayonets. Even the elite Indian Marine Commandos (MarCos) are also armed with Kalashnikovs.

A senior defence official told MyNation that the AK-47 has proved its mettle on several occasions and is loved by the forces. “This is the most reliable gun which can work in any weather condition. From Kashmir to the Northeast and to Chhattisgarh this assault weapon can work fine in any topography,” the officer said.

There is no accurate figure, but the Indian security forces will have around seven to nine lakh AK series rifles. According to a rough estimate, there are about 7.5 million AK series rifles in use across the world. Forces of over 100 countries are using this gun which is license-produced in many countries, including Germany, Poland, Israel, North Korea, and the US.