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03:37 PM, February 2, 2019
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SIG 716 G2

India has recently approved the purchase of 73,000 SIG716-G2 rifles from the US in a deal valued at $97 million (INR 700 Crore) to replace the aging INSAS rifles.

The deliveries of the rifles are likely to take place within a year, according to Press Trust of India.

The rifles are being bought under the fast track procurement procedure.

"The contract is expected to be finalized within a week. The US firm will have to deliver the rifles within one year from the date of finalising the deal," said a senior official involved in negotiation of the deal.

The new rifles will use 7.62 mm ammunition and may be more effective than the indigenous INSAS rifles that use 5.56 mm ammunition. Nearly 7 lakh 7.62x51 mm assault guns are required to replace the army's INSAS rifles.

In October 2017, the Army proposed to acquire around 7 lakh rifles, 44,000 light machine guns (LMGs) and nearly 44,600 carbines. However, only rifles have been cleared while the deal for carbines and LMGs remain pending.

In January, Tiruchi Assault Rifles (TAR) developed by Ordnance Factory was handed over to the Indian Border Security Force. The rifle is touted to be an improved version of INSAS rifle and it is similar to the AK-47 series.

India also procured 5,719 Italian Beretta .338 Lapua Magnum Scorpio TGT and US' Barrett .50-calibre M95 sniper rifles in January to replace the aging Russian-made Dragunov sniper rifles used by troops stationed at the LOC with Pakistan.

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