AMETHI: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday said in a message that the joint venture between India and Russia to manufacture AK-203 assault rifles in India will help in fulfilling Indian security agencies' requirement for advanced small arms.
Putin's message was read out by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during an event of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh.
"The new joint venture will manufacture world-famous Kalashnikov assault rifles of the newest 200 series and eventually will reach full localisation of production. Thus, the Indian defence-industrial sector will have the opportunity to fulfil the needs of national security agencies in this category of small arms, resting upon advanced Russian technologies," Putin said in his message.
The Russian President added that Russia and India have always maintained a strategic partnership in military and technical cooperation, PTI reported.
"For more than seven decades, we have been supplying reliable and high-quality armaments and equipment to Indian friends. Around 170 military and industrial facilities have been set up in India with assistance from our country," Putin said.
The agreement on producing Kalashnikov rifles in India was reached between Putin and Modi in October last year during the former's visit to India. It is to be noted that the inter-governmental agreement between the two countries was signed in the shortest possible time.
"In this regard, I would like to express gratitude to Russian and Indian specialists, to all those who so promptly made this project happen," the Russian president said.
Putin expressed confidence that the production of AK-203 assault rifles will bolster the defence of India and also boost the scientific and industrial basis of the Indian economy.
"The plant itself will become another symbol of friendship and constructive cooperation between our two countries," Putin said in his message.
(with PTI inputs)