India has signed a contract with an American firm for 72,400 assault rifles at a cost of around Rs 700 crore, Defence Ministry officials have said.
The rifles, being used by US forces as well as several other European countries, are being bought under the fast-track procurement procedure.
India has signed the contract for Sig Sauer Assault Rifles with the US under fast track procurement (FTP) and as part of the agreement, India will get around 72,400 7.62mm rifles from US firm SiG Sauer in one year from this day, the officials said.
These new assault rifles will come at a cost of around Rs 700 crore, they said.
The Indian Armed Forces are currently equipped with 5.56x45 mm INSAS Rifle. There is an urgent requirement of replacing the in-service 5.56X45 mm INSAS Rifle with a 7.62X51mm Assault Rifle which is compact, robust, modern in technology and simple to maintain in field conditions, the officials said.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had earlier this month approved the procurement of the Sig Sauer rifles, which will be used by troops deployed along the nearly 3,600-km border with China.
In October, 2017, the Army began the process to acquire around 7 lakh rifles, 44,000 light machine guns (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 this, the Army started scouting for rifles from the global market.