The Kalashnikov AK-203 7.62 mm assault rifle will become a standard firearm of the Indian Army. The Indian Army will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in a month for the procurement of Russian-made AK-203 assault rifles, that will be manufactured locally by an India-Russia joint venture (JV). The AK-203 assault rifles will be manufactured by the Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) at Korwa in Uttar Pradesh. The facility is being set up between the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) from the Indian side, and Rosoboron Exports and Kalashnikov on the Russian side. In November 2019, it was announced that IRRPL will produce 670,000 Kalashnikov AK-203 assault rifles for the armed forces of India.
The Indian Army has been looking to replace the indigenous INSAS (Indian National Small Arms System) rifles in use with a modern rifle. In April 2015, the Indian government replaced some INSAS rifles of the CRPF with AK-47s. In early 2017, it was announced that INSAS rifles were to be retired and replaced by rifles capable of firing 7.62×51mm NATO cartridges. In March 2019, media reported that Indian military were set to replace the INSAS with Russia-designed AK-203 assault rifles, manufactured in India under a joint venture.The India Ministry of Defence had approved the procurement in January 2018 through the Fast Track Procurement route. Of the 72,400 rifles, 66,400 are for the Army, 2,000 for the Navy and 4,000 for the Air Force.
The Indian AK-203 has received a folding buttstock (like that integrated with the AK-74M or AK-103 firearms), upper handguard without a Picatinny rail, and a standard plastic 30-round magazine with no clear window. At the same time, the assault rifle has retained its distinctive slotted muzzle brake. A cleaning rod has been mounted under the weapon’s barrel, in the AK-74M/AK-103 fashion. The Indian AK-203 is chambered for 7.62x39mm cartridge that is also known as M43. The assault rifle has a firing range of 800 m and weighs 3.8 kg without accessories and with empty magazine. The Indian AK-203 features a firing rate of 700 rounds per minute and a muzzle velocity of 715 m/s. The assault rifle is fitted with a 415mm barrel and is 943/704 mm long (with unfolded/folded buttstock, respectively).
The AK-203 is a further development of AK-100 series assault rifles designed and manufactured by the Rusian Company Kalashnikov. Most improvements centered on the ergonomics. The AK-203 assault rifle has a folding adjustable buttstock, ergonomic pistol grip and a selector with an additional tab for trigger finger. The receiver cover is hinged on the rear sight block and locks in place with a special retainer. Picatinny rails are located on the upper and lower handguard. Birdcage type hybrid flashider with compensator design features. The AK-203 assault rifle is currently used by Russian Special Forces.