India’s Ministry of Defence has approved the purchase of 70,000 Sig Sauer SiG 716 assault rifles for the Indian Army, sources told India Today.
The weapons, set to be used in counter-terrorism and other major operations, are estimated to cost around 800 crore Indian rupee ($96 million).
This marks the second time New Delhi has ordered the capabilities from the US. The country purchased 72,400 of the 7.62x51mm-calibre rifles in 2019 as part of its Buy (Global) initiative.
The push for more infantry firepower comes amid military standoffs with China and terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir.
The SiG 716 was originally chosen by the force because of its high caliber and extended range.
The variant is a battle rifle version of the 516 model, allowing it to use bigger and more powerful cartridges by utilizing SR-25 pattern magazines.
The model can also be fitted with upgrades, as the Indian Army issued a tender to local defense firms to develop and install 30,000 night sights for the rifles.
Utilized in Conflict
The rifles have been used by India’s troops in regions where skirmishes with other military forces have occurred.
In 2022, soldiers equipped with the weapons engaged in a “face-off” with Chinese soldiers in the Demchok region in Ladakh, a contested area on the countries’ shared border.