NEW DELHI, Feb 19, 2008 (AFP) – India could soon begin producing “original” Kalashnikov assault rifles under licence and stop buying knock-offs of the ubiquitous weapon, a Russian firm said Tuesday.
Speaking at the end of a four-day weapons fair in New Delhi, Izhmash JSC said it was negotiating with India on the local production of the guns to equip India’s ill-armed security establishment.
“India should use high quality original AK rifles to defend its territory instead of cloned AK series weapons produced by some other countries,” Izhmash JSC’s foreign economic activity director Alexander Zavarzin said.
India needs hundreds and thousands of combat weapons for its police forces and paramilitary agencies as well its million-plus army.
But up to now India has been buying Kalashnikovs from a country which did not hold a valid licence to produce the weapon, he said, without naming the supplier.
The company, which has already signed a contract to arm the Venezuelan army with 100,000 Kalashnikovs made locally under licence, gave no further details on the prospective deal with India including its possible value.
Officials at Izhmash JSC have in past estimated their losses at