India signs arms deal with Russia to produce Kalashnikovs

Dec 6, 2021: Russia and India signed trade and arms deals during President Vladimir Putin’s visit to New Delhi on Monday for talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, including the manufacture of 600,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles in India.

Putin visited India with Russia’s defense and foreign ministers, in which the two countries saw their ties strengthened by 2031 with a military and technical cooperation agreement, and pledged to increase annual trade to $30 billion by 2025.

The Russian president is visiting India amid growing tensions between Russia and the United States, a key Indian ally, which has expressed concerns about growing military cooperation between Moscow and New Delhi.

A joint statement issued after the talks said that Russia and India “reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen defense cooperation, including in joint production of military equipment.”

In addition to the agreement to make AK-203 assault rifles to India, Russia said it was interested in supplying S-400 air defense missile systems. Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringala said the two countries had signed 28 investment agreements, including in steel, shipbuilding, coal and energy deals. He added that the 2018 agreement for S-400 missile systems is currently being implemented.

“Supplies have begun this month, and will continue to happen,” he said, referring to the S-400.

The agreement with Moscow puts India at risk of US sanctions under 2017 US law aimed at preventing countries from buying Russian military hardware.

Russian oil company Rosneft said it has entered into an agreement with Indian Oil to supply 2 million tonnes of oil to India by the end of 2022. The countries have also signed a memorandum of understanding with Russia to send uninterrupted supply of coal to India to help steel production, among other agreements.

Putin and Modi also discussed the situation in Afghanistan, vowing to ensure that the country would never become a safe haven for international terrorism.

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