Netanyahu: 'Spike' missile deal back on the table

PM says outlook for massive $500 million arms deal previously nixed by India 'very positive.' 'They are reauthorizing the Spike deal.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Netanyahu and Modi
Netanyahu and Modi

Prime Minister Netanyahu said today, Wednesday, that a massive weapons deal between India and Israel was back on the table, after India had previously backed out of the deal.

In November, the Indian government announced that it would not purchase nearly half a billion dollars in Israeli weapons, cancelling an arms deal reached last year.

Under the terms of the agreement, Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems would manufacture the Spike missile, a fourth-generation Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (MPATGM), together with India’s Kalyani Group at a factory outside of Hyderabad. The facility to be used for producing the missiles was opened in August.

According to The Indian Express, senior defense ministry sources said that the Israeli-Indian arms deal was scrapped for fear that reliance on imported weapons technology would reduce the prospects of India producing its own indigenous infantry-based anti-tank missile system. India has also turned down offers for similar missile systems from Raytheon-Lockheed Martin in the US.

One source told the Express that the ministry believes a comparable domestic equivalent can be produced within three to four years.

Nevertheless, The Hindustan Times reported last week that India will purchase the Spike missiles, after all.

According to the report, the purchase will take place through the so-called government to government (G to G) route, while the original purchase was to have been carried out directly with Rafael.

Departing from Ahmedabad to Mumbai today on the third day of a state visit to India to foster economic ties, Netanyahu said, “They are reauthorizing the Spike deal.”

He noted that, while the details were still being worked out, the outlook on the deal was “very positive.”

Earlier this morning, Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife Sara were greeted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an impressive reception in the city of Ahmedabad..

Tens of thousands of residents stood in the streets waving Israeli and Indian flags. Hundreds of signs were hung with pictures of the prime ministers on which "Welcome to Ahmedabad" was written in Hebrew. In addition, performances were held in the streets including traditional dances and music.