Months after it decided to scrap a deal to acquire the weapons from an Israeli firm, India is considering purchase of Spike anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) from Israel via the government-to-government (G-to-G) route, PTI reported.
Interestingly, the latest development comes a week before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to visit India. It is expected that the two countries may deliberate on finding ways to further deepen the already close defence ties between India and Israel during his talks with Indian leaders in New Delhi.
As per the original proposal, India had planned to procure the ATGMs for the Army at a cost of USD 500 million. According to a PTI report, the government is now examining the possibility of purchasing the missiles from Israel through the G-to-G route in the same manner it sealed the deal for procuring 36 Rafale jets from France.
In November, the Ministry of Defence had decided to cancel the USD 500 million deal for Spike ATGM with Israel and instead asked the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to indigenously develop and produce a Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) for the Army. READ | Ministry of Defence scraps $500 million Israeli missile deal, wants DRDO to make in India
According to reports, the proposal to acquire the missile system from the Israeli firm faced hurdles when it expressed reservations in ensuring full transfer of technology as per the provisions of the ‘Make in India’ initiative. India had similarly rejected an offer from US-based Raytheon-Lockheed Martin for Javelin ATGM in favour of the Israeli weapon system.
Spike MR missile is a 3rd generation, fire and forget, top attack, ATGM with a range of 2.5 km, which has the capability to operate both during the day and night. At present, the Army is using 2nd generation ATGMs — Konkurs and Milan 2T — which do not have night-fighting capabilities.
Last week, the Israeli firm had said it received an official notification from India’s Ministry of Defence about cancellation of the deal.
With PTI inputs
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines