Rafale effect: Govt turns down Russian proposal to make AK rifles with Adani
The inter-governmental contract to manufacture six lakh AK-103 assault rifles was to be finalised before Narendra Modi’s October visit to Moscow
Under fire from the Opposition on the alleged Rafale deal scam where the role of the government is under the scanner, it seems the Narendra Modi-led government has developed a cold feet when it comes to other defence contracts. According to an Indian Express report, it turned down a request from a Russian company to partner with the Adani Group for the manufacture of ₹3,000-crore worth of AK-103 assault rifles to be used by the Indian Army.
Earlier this year, the governments of Russia and India had agreed that Kalashnikov Concern, a Russian firm, would only partner with government-owned Indian Ordnance Factories. Last month, sources said that the Defence Ministry rejected the Russian proposal claiming that foreign vendors did not have the option to select the Indian company that they would be jointly manufacturing with.
“We have conveyed to the Russians that if they insist on Adani as their partner, they should come through the tender route,” sources said.
Kalashnikov Concern, the Russian firm, is offering the Indian Army the AK-103, an upgraded version of the commonly used AK-47/AKM rifle. Numerous quantities of the AK-47 are in use by the Indian Army, police and paramilitary forces
In a bid to further its ‘Make in India’ programme which has not had much success, the government has been taking steps to promote the private sector to get involved in defence manufacturing.
However, the controversy surrounding the awarding of offsets in the Rafale deal to Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence has led to the government taking cautious steps. This recent development delays the conclusion of the deal between the two governments which was initially to be concluded before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia this October.
Kalashnikov Concern, the Russian firm, is offering the Indian Army the AK-103, an upgraded version of the commonly used AK-47/AKM rifle. Numerous quantities of the AK-47 are in use by the Indian Army, police and paramilitary forces. It has offered a licensed production of the AK-103, in a bid to lure India away from the former Warsaw Pact countries who have the knowhow of AK-making. These countries were from the former Soviet Union and had been selling stockpiles of the ammunition at a very cheap price.
The inter-government agreement was to buy six lakh AK-103 rifles, worth nearly ₹50,000 a piece. This agreement was initiated during Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Moscow visit in April. At that time, it was mutually agreed that Indian Ordnance Factories would partner the Russians. The Russians put in a request in July, to be allowed to partner with Adani (Defence & Aerospace) for the joint production of assault rifles in India.
During the 2014 Lok Sabha Election, Gautam Adani had supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He had often used Adani’s jets to travel across the country for his general election campaign. When he came to Delhi after the victory, Modi travelled in Adani's private jet for his arrival.
The net worth of Gautam Adani had multiplied 4 times in four years of the Modi Government. It had been alleged that the NDA government favoured Adani by allegedly waiving off ₹200 crore fine on Adani Port for environmental violation in Gujarat.
Adani provided an air-conditioned tent for Modi to stage a dharna over Narmada water issue in Ahmedabad. Adani was the only businessman apart from Anil Ambani who had made a clear pitch for Modi as the next PM.