India goes ahead with plan to buy 72,400 U.S.-made SIG 716 rifles (VIDEO)
By Chris Eger
Indian Army troops with the current staple infantry rifle, the INSAS. (Photos: Indian Army)
The second largest Army in the world intends to purchase U.S.-made Sig Sauer rifles to arm infantry battalions along the country’s sensitive border areas.
The deal, valued at some 7 billion Rupees, or about $100 million U.S., would see some 72,400 SIG 716 rifles in 7.62x51mm acquired as part of a “fast-track procurement” process, reported the Times of India on Saturday.
While India fields a 1.2 million-strong Army, the country has a hodgepodge of small arms acquired over the past half-century, and the new guns will go to equip units deployed along the subcontinent’s borders with Pakistan and China while the service looks for domestically-available solutions to reequip the whole force.
The Indian Ministry of Defence has reportedly been in negotiations with Sig Sauer to provide the rifles for the past several months after efforts by Ishapore, the state rifle factory, to produce a replacement rifle tanked.
The SIG 716 is a short-stroke pushrod gas action 7.62mm autoloader that accepts SR25 pattern magazines. Sig Sauer currently makes the rifle in a number of Patrol and DMR variants using a free-floating aluminum handguard with Key-Mod or M-LOK attachments and a top-mounted M1913