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"Kalashnikov" in India: a Success Story of Bilateral Collaboration

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A great success has been achieved in one area of cooperation between India and Russia: the military and technical sphere. For quite some time now, the Republic of India has been viewed as a key importer of Russian weapons. In recent years, this special status enjoyed by India has come into question. However, these doubts were dispelled after India signed an agreement with Russia to purchase its S-400 Triumf missile system in October 2018.

From 2012 to 2017 India bought approximately $15 billion worth of weapons from Russia. It has been reported that one of the most sought after items was the T-90 tank, although the Republic of India also purchased a large number of different military aircraft, helicopters, ships and other expensive equipment. In addition, collaboration between the two nations on joint research and development projects has resulted in creation of the India-Russia BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.

In light of the previously mentioned developments, the opening of a manufacturing facility licensed to produce Kalashnikov (AK) assault rifles in March of 2018 in India does not seem noteworthy at first glance. However, the significance of this event should not be underestimated. Heavy weapons are used infrequently and in rare emergency situations, while, on a daily basis, safety and security is ensured by equipping rank-and-file combatants with weapons. From an economic perspective, it is often the case that the sale of fairly inexpensive goods yields more substantial revenues than those received from industrial sectors that manufacture exceptionally pricey products sold in very small numbers. Each soldier in an army is equipped with assault weapons such as AK, while warehouses are established to stock a large number of additional automatic rifles, their spare parts and ammunition. In a large populous country such as India, weapons have to be manufactured in vast quantities in order to fully equip the army and its reserves with firearms. For now the previously mentioned manufacturing facility is expected to produce approximately 800,000 AK assault rifles, but this could only be the........

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