India cancels $500 million deal for Israeli missiles

Defence Ministry likely to scrap $500 million deal with Israel The Indian Express

Defence Ministry likely to scrap $500 million deal with Israel The Indian Express

Samson and Spike in action.

In the deal, India was to have purchased from Israeli defense technology firm Rafael 8,000 SPIKE anti-tank missiles, and 300 launchers for the missiles.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Israel in July in the first such trip by a sitting Indian head of state, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to visit India next January. It was approved in 2014 by the Defense Aquisition Council (DAC), which is responsible for purchases for the Indian Army, but negotiations were stuck over disagreements on cost and technology transfer. The DRDO could take up to four years to develop the next-generation ATGMs.

India closed the deal to purchase the Spike missile in 2016 and selected Israel's government-owned Rafael Advanced Defence Systems over a rival U.S. offer of Javelin missiles that Washington had lobbied hard to win.

The $500 million deal was being witnessed as an example of the growing Indo-Israel defence cooperation.

The decision not to buy the missiles comes around 10 months after the defence ministry appointed a committee, headed by a major general, to examine various aspects related to the deal. India's missile sub-systems manufacturing facility was inaugurated in August and is based in Hyderabad.

Indian military sources told the website that DRDO had already produced a few varieties of anti-tank guided missiles and was "confident" that it could produce one on par with the Israeli Spike.

The company also noted that it was working with the Kalyani Group in order to ensure that the production of the Spike missile conformed to the government's requirements that they be "made in India".

Meanwhile, in several letters to the Defence Ministry, the Army highlighted it's urgency to procure operational equipment, arguing that the Spike ATGM will boost the capability of troops deployed on the Line of Control.

India chose to acquire an Israeli-made anti-tank rocket, picking it over the US-made Javelin, in October 2014. The Spike missile can be also used on board a ship, and installed in helicopters and other aircraft.

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