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Defence Ministry approves procurement of 73,000 assault rifles from US

Army sources said the US-manufactured rifles will replace the INSAS rifles

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Nirmala Sitharaman
Nirmala Sitharaman

In a major move towards infantry modernisation, the has cleared a long-pending proposal of the Army to procure around 73,000 from the US under fast track mode, official sources said on Saturday.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman approved procurement of the Sig Sauer rifles which will be used by troops deployed along the nearly 3,600-km border with China, the sources told PTI.

They said the rifles, being used by the US forces as well as several other European countries, are being bought under the fast track procurement procedure.

"The contract is expected to be finalized within a week. The US firm will have to deliver the rifles within one year from the date of finalising the deal," said a senior official involved in the negotiation of the deal said.

Army sources said the US-manufactured rifles will replace the

The world's second largest standing Army has been pressing for fast-tracking the procurement of various weapons systems considering the evolving security threats including along India's borders with Pakistan and China.

In October, 2017, the Army began the process to acquire around 700,000 rifles, 44,000 (LMGs) and nearly 44,600 carbines.

Around 18 months ago, the Army had rejected an assault rifle built by the state-run Rifle Factory, Ishapore, after the guns miserably failed the firing tests.

Following it, the Army started scouting for rifles from the global market.

The procurement of has witnessed significant delays due to a variety of reasons including the Army's failure to finalise the specifications for it. The Army needs around 700,000 7.62x51 mm to replace its

First Published: Sat, February 02 2019. 13:25 IST