On 19 March 2020, the Indian government signed a contract for 16.429 Negev NG7 light machine guns in 7.62 x 51mm caliber for the Indian army.
Against a requirement for over 43,000 light machine guns to replace the combination of Indian Ordnance Factory build 1B LMGs in 7.62 x 51mm calibre and INSAS LMGs in 5.56mm NATO currently used by the Indian army, this initial procurement of NG7s for the army’s infantry battalions makes a substantial investment in new infantry weapons. It is possible that an indigenous 7.62mm machine gun, similar to the M240 may be used to provide the remainder of the light machine guns required by the Indian army.
In 2019, 72,400 SiG 716 rifles were procured for some of the army’s infantry battalions while an indigenous rifle, the R2, both in 7.62 x51mm may yet be ordered. For non-infantry troops, the Indian army intends to standardize on locally built AK-203 7.62 x39mm rifles and totally replacing the 5.56 NATO calibre rifles and machine guns now in use. However, 90,000 carbines in 5.56 NATO – probably the Caracal CAR816 – for close combat purposes are also being sought.
The Indian Army has some 382 infantry battalions each with approximately 850 personnel each.
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