EFESrinagar, India

India has cleared the production of 500,000 AK-203 assault rifles, government sources said Saturday, to equip one of the world's largest armies with a more reliable weapon that replaces the in-service and glitch-prone indigenous Insas rifle.

The clearance for the nearly $700-million joint project with Russia comes a day before President Vladimir Putin arrives in the Indian capital for high-level defense and strategic talks between the two countries.

Assault rifle is the very-basic weapon for infantry soldiers on the border and in counter-insurgency operations in urban and rural areas. EFE