India to equip police marksmen at the upcoming G20 summit with the iconic Dragunov sniper rifles as boost for Russian arms market
The Delhi police force is procuring Russian SVD Dragunov sniper rifles ahead of the G20 leaders’ summit next month, the Times of India has reported, citing sources.
Marksmen equipped with the rifles will be deployed on the rooftops of hotels in the center of the Indian capital, as well as at other strategic locations.
A police source told the newspaper that Kalashnikov-manufactured SVDs had been chosen as they are known to be “reliable and simple.”
“The marksmen can adjust and equip the sniper rifle with various sighting systems for both day and night operations depending on the taste and combat environment,” an officer said.
According to Russian manufacturer Kalashnikov, the 7.62mm rifle is designed to engage enemy personnel and other unarmored targets at ranges of up to 800m.
Delhi Police will need up to 100 rifles for a limited time, the report suggested, adding that one rifle costs anywhere between 200,000 and 300,000 rupees ($2,400-$3,600), although that could rise to 500,000 rupees depending on the technical modification and accessories.
Around 250 marksmen have been trained ahead of the G20 summit. They will be working in eight-hour shifts while over two dozen marksmen will be put on standby. Snipers will be assisted by over 50 spotters equipped with high-end night-vision binoculars and positioned in close proximity.
An upgraded Dragunov sniper rifle
The Indian Army has been using SVDs, along with other Russian rifles, for decades. Earlier this year, India also launched the production of Kalashnikov 203 assault rifles at the Korwa Ordnance Factory in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, in partnership with Kalashnikov Concern and fellow Russian company Rosoboronexport.
The agreement meant India became the first foreign country to begin licensed manufacturing of AK-200-series assault rifles.
“Russia and India are linked by strong partnership relations. With the launch of series production of Kalashnikov AK-203 assault rifles, high-quality, convenient, and modern small arms will begin to enter service with India’s defense and law enforcement agencies,” said Sergey Chemezov, general director of defense conglomerate Rostec, in January.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is pursuing the development of India’s own defense manufacturing capabilities, and the joint Kalashnikov venture has committed to ensure 100% localization of production.
Under the agreement inked in 2021, over 670,000 AK-203 rifles will be manufactured for the Indian military.
Source Times of India/AP/RT