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India Fast Tracks Purchase of Assault Rifles & Carbines Worth $554 Mln

© AP Photo / Channi Anand / An Indian army soldier holds an AK-47 assault rifle. (File)
An Indian army soldier holds an AK-47 assault rifle. (File) - Sputnik International
The new weapons purchase has been approved by India's Defense Acquisition Council after an earlier contract with Galil Ace of Israeli Weapon Industry (IWI) was called off last year.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — India's Ministry of Defense has cleared a proposal worth $554 million on Tuesday to purchase assault rifles and carbines. The ministry expects competitive bidding to start soon.

"The Defense Acquisition Council has cleared procurement of 72,400 assault rifles and 93,895 carbines on fast track basis for 3,547 crores (approx $554 million) to enable the Defense Forces to meet their immediate requirement for the troops deployed on the border," India's Defense Ministry said in a statement.

​Besides, the Indian Army also requires an additional 600,000 assault rifles and 325,000 carbines. These will be made available to the forces in two tranches — one fourth by the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board and the remaining by local private industry, defense sources told Sputnik. 

READ MORE: India Scraps Purchase of Light Machine Guns from Israel

The Indian Army has been looking for replacements for its 5.56x45 mm assault rifles. However, since the Israel Weapon Industries' ACE 1, the Beretta ARX160, the Ceská Zbrojovka CZ 805 BREN, and the Colt's Manufacturing Company's Colt Combat Rifle did not meet the army's requirements during trials, the quest remains unfulfilled.

"There are systemic failures in acquisition of such primary weapons by the Indian Army ranging from lack of evolution of concept for a family of small arms, faulty General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQRs), change in GSQRs at the last minute, abandonment of projects at the last minute and so on," Rahul Bhonsle, a retired Indian Army brigadier and defense analyst, told Sputnik.

Last year, the Indian government had canceled a tender won by Galil Ace of Israeli Weapon Industry (IWI) for least 44,618 close quarter battle carbines and 33.6 million rounds of ammunition because of a "single vendor situation" which goes against India's defense procurement policy.

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