India Readies 750,000 Russian Assault Rifles and a Nuclear Submarine. Is Pakistan in the Crosshairs?
Originally published on: CCN
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March 04, 2019
India is stockpiling an enormous arsenal of weaponry and military equipment.
According to an announcement on Sunday, March 3rd, India will make a quarter of a million new assault rifles for the Indian army. India’s president Narendra Modi opened the new Kalashnikov plant in partnership with Russian.
India is also expected to sign a lease for a Russian nuclear attack submarine this week. The $3 billion deal will see India take control of a fully-customized nuclear vessel.
Tensions between India and Pakistan have simmered down since last month’s airstrikes. However, India is ramping up its arsenal. Is this a sign of defense or aggression towards Pakistan?
A boost to ‘Make in India’ and India-Russia friendship.
The AK-203, that will be manufactured in Amethi will strengthen our armed forces and help them fight terrorists. pic.twitter.com/l08lQZ4DJz
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 3, 2019
750,000 Russian Assault Rifles in Production
India’s new arms factory will churn out 750,000 AK 203s. The weapon is an upgrade from the AK 100, which itself evolved from the infamous AK 47. While the firepower is much the same, the AK 203 is more accurate and better designed. It can also be equipped with a laser sight.
President Modi thanked his “friend” Vladimir Putin as he opened the facility in Amethi, a city in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
The factory is a joint venture between Russia’s Kalashnikov Concern and India’s Ordnance Factory Board (OAB). It’s the latest development in a long history of collaboration between India and Russia. As Putin explained:
“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…The plant itself will become another symbol of friendship and constructive cooperation between our two countries.”
Welcome to India, President Putin.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 4, 2018
India Readies Russian Nuclear Submarine
Adding to the weaponry, India is expected to sign a lease this week for a Russian nuclear attack submarine.
The Akula class Chakra III submarine will replace an existing Russian submarine leased by the Indian government. The submarine will be customized to India’s specification and ready by 2025.
Once operational, the submarine will hide, undetected, for months underwater. The vessel will likely act as a warning and deterrent to nations in the Indian subcontinent.
Looming War Between India and Pakistan?
The stockpile of weapons comes at an ominous time for the region. The conflict made headlines in February when Pakistan rebels killed 40 Indians in a suicide attack.
As CCN reported, India responded by launching airstrikes into Pakistan territory. Pakistan hit back by shooting down an Indian fighter plane and capturing the pilot. He has since been released.
The conflict has since cooled down, but both sides remain on high alert. Indian troops along the border are reportedly “war ready.” Meanwhile, Pakistan has mobilized troops on the controversial Line of Control and the international border.
India: Don’t Mess With Us
The headline-grabbing arms deals are most likely a show of superior weaponry from India. It’s an attempt to position themselves as the dominant military power in the region.
While Pakistan has more nuclear warheads, India’s military force is much greater. It spends five-times more than Pakistan on military and has more than three-times the manpower.
As war looms between the two nuclear nations, India is positioning itself as a force to be reckoned with.