The AK-47 Is Old News: Russia Now Has the Deadly AK-203
But the deal, signed for a whopping 750,000 AK-203 rifles with 40,000 to be directly imported, is no less significant from the perspective of the Russian arms export business.
From air defense systems to nuclear submarines, the Soviet Union has enjoyed a longstanding, profitable defense export relationship with India. However, both the USSR and its Russian successor state have historically struggled to break into the Indian small arms market.
After decades of impasse, it appears that the Kremlin has found a solution in the form of Kalashnikov’s new AK-203 rifle.
(This first appeared in March 2019.)
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a new, jointly-administered AK-203 production venture at the Korwa small arms production plant in Northeastern India.
President Putin greeted the occasion with a celebratory telegram, stressing the ways in which Russian defense technology complements India’s national security interests: "The new joint venture will manufacture world-famous Kalashnikov assault rifles of the newest 200 series and eventually will reach full localization of production. Thus, the Indian defense-industrial sector will have the opportunity to fulfill the needs of national security agencies in this category of small arms, resting upon advanced Russian technologies."