India's Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed a contract with small arms manufacturer SIG Sauer on 12 February for the supply of 72,400 assault rifles to the Indian Army (IA).
IA sources said delivery of the SIG716 7.62 mm rifles, which are being acquired under the MoD's Fast Track Procedure, is expected be completed within 12 months.
The new rifles will replace the locally made Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56 mm assault rifles that entered IA service in the mid-1990s, but were declared "operationally inadequate" by the army in early 2010.
Senior IA officers told Jane's that the SIG716, which is also in service with the US and European armies, will be issued to frontline IA units deployed on counter-insurgency operations, as well as to troops deployed along India's disputed borders with Pakistan and China.
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