“The acquisition wing of ministry of defence has signed the capital acquisition contract with Israel Weapons Industries for procurement of 16,479 LMGs at a cost of Rs 880 crore with the approval of defence minister Rajnath Singh,” said the government.
“The modern, state-of-the-art Negev 7.62×51 mm Light Machine Gun (LMG) is a combat proven weapon and currently used by several countries around the globe. This LMG will greatly enhance the lethality and range of a soldier vis-a-vis the presently used weapon,” defence ministry said.
The provisioning of this operationally urgent and very critically needed weapon will boost the confidence of the front line troops and provide much needed combat power to the armed forces.
India has been trying to improve the firepower of its Infantry which relies heavily on Insas rifles produced by the Ordnance Factory Board.
Last year the country singed a deal with the US firm Sig Sauer for supply of 72,400 assault rifles and the first batch of 10,000 Sig Sauer SIG 716 7.62×51 mm assault rifles has already been inducted into Indian Army.
In addition to these two purchases, Indian government also entered into a joint-venture with Russia to manufacture AK-203 series of rifles in Amethi in northern state of Uttar Pradesh. This rifle factory will meet the long-term requirement of Indian Infantry.
The Negev deal with Israel is the third major deal to upgrade the firepower of Indian Army soldiers following the joint venture to produce over 7,50,000 legendary Klashnikov series (AK-203) rifles in India and the purchase of over 72,000 SIG Sauer assault rifles from the USA under the fast track route.