Amid the raging Ukraine crisis and the wide ranging West imposed sanctions on Russia, two flagship military hardware projects in Uttar Pradesh stand testimony to the deep Indo-Russian strategic cooperation.
Currently, UP is the ground zero of a couple of prestigious Indo-Russian joint ventures to manufacture modern defence ware for the Indian security forces.
These include the proposed Brahmos cruise missile manufacturing unit in Lucknow and an AK series assault rifle plant to be set up in nearby Amethi district. Both these projects are coming up under different joint ventures between Indian companies and their Russian counterparts.
BrahMos is a joint venture between the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India and NPOM, Russia to develop next generation supersonic missiles for the Indian forces.
All the three wings of the Indian defence forces viz. Army, Air Force and Navy, have already inducted BrahMos advanced weapon system.
Meanwhile, the nearly Rs 300 crore BrahMos project is projected to generate 5,500 fresh job opportunities, while the ancillaries would create an additional 10,000 employment.
Earlier, the Uttar Pradesh government had allocated 200 acres of land for the BrahMos project on a lease of merely Re one considering its importance for national security and also for showcasing UP as a preferred destination for the defence manufacturing sector.
While laying the foundation for the BrahMos project in December 2021, defence minister Rajnath Singh had termed it as a glowing testimony of defence manufacturing cooperation between India and Russia.
“Russia is our strategic partner, and the BrahMos missile project is the symbol of our partnership,” he said. The term BrahMos is derived from Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers of India and Russia respectively.
Similarly, the proposed Indo-Russian joint venture at Korwa in Amethi will manufacture more than half-a-million pieces of AK-203 assault rifles. The project will be implemented by a special purpose vehicle (SPV) called Indo-Russian Rifles Private Ltd (IRRPL).
The 7.62 mm x 39 mm caliber AK-203 rifles will replace the in-service INSAS rifle inducted three decades back. Kalashnikov Concern produces nearly 95 percent of small arms in Russia and supplies to more than 27 countries.
The joint venture is being set up by Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWEIL) and Munitions India Limited (MIL) of India and Rosoboronexport (RoE) and Kalashnikov Concern of Russia.
AK-203 rifles, with an effective range of 300 meters, are light weight, robust and easy to use ‘Modern Assault Rifles’ with proven technology that will enhance the combat potential of soldiers to adequately meet present and envisaged operational challenges.
These rifles are aimed at boosting the operational effectiveness of the Indian Army in counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations.
Meanwhile, UP has been promoting its Defence Manufacturing Corridor spread over six districts viz. Lucknow, Kanpur, Chitrakoot, Jhansi, Aligarh and Agra.