One of the world’s largest tenders for assault rifles has been scrapped. And, as a result, one of the world’s largest armies must continue to wait for reliable weapons for its frontline troops.
Last month, after four years of deliberations, India’s defence ministry finally called off a project worth Rs4,850 crore ($765 million) to purchase 65,678 new assault rifles for the world’s third largest standing army. Assault rifles are weapons primarily used by the army’s infantry troops.
“I can confirm to you the information that the Indian Government has cancelled the tender,” Hana Smilkova, a spokesperson for Czech-rifle maker Ceska zbrojovka A.S, told Quartz via email. A defence ministry spokesperson did not respond to phone calls or messages from Quartz.
According to the 2011 tender, 65,678 assault rifles were to be procured from one of the five international companies that were invited for trials, with an option to make another 113,000 in India through technology transfers. American gunmaker Colt, Italy’s Beretta, Czech Republic’s Ceska, Israel Weapon Industries and SiG Sauer of Switzerland were the other companies selected for trials.