Need to arm soldiers with best weapon systems: Rahul

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Amethi, UP, Dec 2 (UNI) AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi today laid stress on the need to equip soldiers with the best possible weapon systems to face the new challenges.

Laying the foundation stone of small arms factory at Korwa Hindustan Aeronautical Ltd (HAL) complex here, the Amethi MP said while defending the country, soldiers often serve in hostile environs from Siachen to the Thar desert. ''Therefore, there is a need to equip them with the world's best weapons,'' he added.

He hoped that the Korwa Small Arms Factory (SAF) would produce weapons which would help the security personnel deal with present and emerging dangers.

The Korwa SAF would be India's 41st ordnance factory.

The small arms factory, to come up in Korwa of Sultanpur district of Uttar Pradesh, would produce 1.70 lakh 5.56 mm INSAS carbines per annum. In 1996, India had decided to produce the Indian Small Arms Series (INSAS) weapons in the country. While the INSAS assault rifles and light machines guns (LMG) are already in production and are used by the security forces, the Korwa factory would produce the carbines.

The Field Gun Factory at Kanpur is the other ordnance unit working in the state.

Located in the Amethi tehsil of Sultanpur district, the factory is likely to give direct employment to over 1,500 persons. Sources said the support industries, which would come up in the area, would provide additional employment facilities to 5,000 locals.

Defence Minister A K Antony had announced the government's decision to set up the SAF in Amethi recently.

Incidentally, this would be Mr Gandhi's first visit to Amethi after becoming the AICC general secretary.

The Indian Ordnance Factories organisation -- an umbrella of 40 Ordnance Factories under the aegis of its corporate headquarters Ordnance Factory Board, Kolkata -- possess the unique distinction of over 200 years experience in defence production. The factories are engaged in production, testing, logistics, research, development and marketing of a comprehensive product range in the area of land, sea and air systems.

UNI

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