India may revive deal for Israeli missiles
The Indian Army and the government of India are discussing ways to revive a $500 million order to buy Spike anti-tank guided missiles from Rafael, it was announced on 12 January.
India recently called off the deal to procure 8,000 missiles, souring the build up to Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's six-day visit to the country starting 14 January.
According to Bipin Rawat, chief of the Indian Army, the deal was scrapped after the state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) offered to manufacture similar missiles in line with premier Narendra Modi's pet 'Make in India' initiative.
Bipin Rawat said: ‘DRDO said…why you are going for a missile that we are capable of manufacturing and can give you better results. That is what led to retracting of the request for proposal.’
Rawat said 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.
Rawat continued: ‘So how do we bridge the gap between now and 2022? It's through the Spike. We can possibly look at a lesser number to meet the gap.’
India has been investing tens of billions of dollars in updating its Soviet-era military hardware to counter long-standing tensions with China and Pakistan.
Israel is a major weapons supplier to India, exporting an average of $1 billion of military equipment each year.
In April 2017, the two countries signed a military deal worth nearly $2 billion which includes the supply of medium-range surface-to-air missiles, launchers and communications technology.
India is aiming to end its status as the world's number one defence importer and to have 70% of hardware manufactured domestically by the turn of the decade.
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