Indian CoS: We'll likely revive missile deal with Israel

Indian army and government discussing ways to revive deal to buy Spike anti-tank guided missiles from Israel, says India's military chief.

Ben Ariel, Canada ,

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with Indian counterpart Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with Indian counterpart Narendra Modi
Kobi Gideon/GPO

The Indian army and the government are discussing ways to revive a $500 million order to buy Spike anti-tank guided missiles from Israel's state-owned defense contractor Rafael, the country’s military chief Bipin Rawat confirmed on Friday, according to AFP.

Reports on Wednesday indicated India has changed its mind regarding the purchase of the Spike missiles from Israel and would purchase them through the so-called government to government route.

India had last month called off the deal to procure 8,000 missiles, saying it was due to fear that reliance on imported weapons technology would reduce the prospects of India producing its own -based anti-tank missile system.

Rawat said Friday the deal was scrapped after the state-run Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) offered to manufacture similar missiles in line with premier Narendra Modi's pet 'Make in India' initiative.

"They (DRDO) said... why you are going for a missile that we are capable of manufacturing and can give you better results," Rawat said.

"That is what led to retracting of the RFP (request for proposal)," he explained.

Rawat added the DRDO missiles were yet to be tested and would not be ready till 2022, which could hit India's operational capabilities in the interim.

"So how do we bridge the gap between now and 2022? It's through the Spike. Rather than going whole hog we are in the discussion with the government" to fill in the gap, he said.

"We can possibly look at a lesser number to meet the gap."

Israel is a major weapons supplier to India, selling it an average of $1 billion of military equipment each year.

In April last year, the two countries signed a military deal worth nearly $2 billion which includes the supply over several years of medium-range surface-to-air missiles, launchers and communications technology.

Spike missiles are widely used by the IDF and various other armed forces, and are exact guided missiles, that can be fired from various land, air, and sea platforms, from up to 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) away from a target.

Last month, the missile successfully passed a series of technical and operational tests in which forces fired the Spike-LR missiles.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will visit India next week for trade talks which are expected to also cover defense sales.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)