Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday said that the $500-million Spike anti-tank guided missile deal between India and Israel, which had been scrapped earlier, was back on the table.
According to reports in the Israeli media, as his plane took off for Mumbai from Ahmedabad, Netanyahu told Israeli journalists: “They are reauthorising the Spike deal.”
Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat was quoted saying that talks with India on the Spike missile deal were moving in a positive direction, and more details would be disclosed later.
Netanyahu’s comment to Israeli reporters covering his visit to India comes two months after The Indian Express reported that the Ministry of Defence had called off the $500-million deal for Spike anti-tank missiles with Israel’s Rafael, in favour of indigenous development by DRDO. Rafael confirmed earlier this month that the deal had been called off, but Israeli officials promised to press the Indian government to reinstate it.
Netanyahu’s remarks on the deal did not spell out if it would still be worth $500 million. Official sources told The Indian Express that a proposal for fewer Spike ATGMs is likely to be considered to meet urgent operational requirements of the Army until the DRDO-developed missile is inducted into service.