In order to equip its force with automatic and modern weapons, the Uttar Pradesh Police has decided to replace the old .303 Rifles with automatic INSAS and Self Loading Rifles (SLR). The .303 Rifle, often carried by policemen, is an old British magazine-fed bolt action rifle which served as the main firearm by its military forces in the Empire. It can fire one shot at a time after which the barrel needs to be reloaded by pulling the bolt for the next shot. Whereas, INSAS is an automatic assault rifle manufactured by Indian Ordnance Factory and is used by Army and Paramilitary forces.
"Keeping in view the law and order situation, the police personnel would be equipped with 63,000 INSAS Rifles and 23,000 SLRs," said Additional Chief Secretary, Uttar Pradesh, Awanish Kumar.
He also stated that providing automatic rifles was an effort to keep control over crime and for public security at large. He added that the INSAS and SLR rifles have already been provided to the police personnel. He also said that appropriate action would be taken against concerned officials if police personnel was found using or carrying the outdated .303 rifles. 8,000 INSAS Rifles have been kept in 'reserve' keeping in view the upcoming recruitment to Uttar Pradesh constabulary. Also, a proposal with regard to the purchase of 10,000 9mm pistols has been sent to the government by Police.
AK-203 is the latest derivative of the legendary AK-47 rifle. India had signed a deal with a Russian firm earlier this year, to manufacture 750,000 of these assault rifles to be given to the Army's infantry troops. The guns replaced the existing India-made INSAS assault rifles in the Army, Air Force and Navy.
After supplying these rifles to the defence forces, the government then provided the INSAS rifles to paramilitary and the state police forces. There is a possibility that 15 to 20 years down the line, all the forces would be using this assault rifle as their standard weapon. Apart from this, the Defence Ministry has already signed a contract with American Sig Sauer for the supply of 7.69mm 59 calibre advanced assault rifles. These would be given to soldiers directly engaged in counter-insurgency and other operations.