SIG Sauer's SiG 716 rifle and Caracal's CAR 816 close-quarter battle (CQB) carbine have emerged as the lowest bidders for the Indian Army's requirement for equipping its soldiers with a new rifle. The SiG 716 finished with the lowest quote (L1) for the army's fast track procurement of 72,000 new automatic rifles, while the CAR 816 finished L1 in a separate bid for 94,000 carbines.
The SIG 716 G2 7.62x51mm riflewill replace the indigenous INSAS assault rifle, which are to be retired soon, having beat two contenders, Caracal and Israeli Weapons Industries (IWI), and the new carbine will replace the 9mm Sterling carbine, which are being gradually phased out, beating Thales and MKU. Contract negotiations are expected to last over three months before a deal can be signed and the rifle manufacturers have to deliver their weapons within a year.
The Indian Army plans to spend Rs3,500 crore on these acquisitions citing urgent operational requirements for procurement. According to India Today senior army official called the rifle and carbine procurement a, "top priority," for the infantry, even though the bulk of the army will be equipped with a new 7.62x39mm assault rifle, with a Request for Information (RFI) already in place. India plans to indigenously license-produce an AK-103 assault rifle, a more modern variant of the iconic Russian assault rifle. Talks for the production line were initiated by Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Moscow in April 2018, and is expected to produce 650,000 assault rifles.