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Govt examining G-to-G deal to buy Spike missile from Israel

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The Spike anti-tank guided missile. Photo: Rafael Advanced Defence Systems

NEW DELHI (PTI): India is considering purchase of Spike anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) from Israel through the government-to-government (G-to-G) route, months after it decided to cancel a deal to procure the weapons from an Israeli firm.

According to the original proposal, India had planned to acquire the ATGMs for the Army at a cost of US$ 500 million.

The government is now examining the possibility of purchasing the missiles from Israel through the G-to-G route like it did in sealing the deal for procuring 36 Rafale jets from France, official sources said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to visit India next week and ways to further deepen the already close defence ties between the two countries may figure during his talks with Indian leaders here.

In November, the defence ministry had decided to retract the process to acquire a batch of Spike missiles from Israeli firm Rafael Advanced Defence Systems.

Subsequently, the ministry had asked premier defence research laboratory DRDO to develop similar missiles with indigenous technology.

Official sources had said the proposal to acquire the missile system from the Israeli firm faced hurdles when it apparently expressed reservations in ensuring full transfer of technology as per the provisions of the 'Make in India' initiative.

They said the decision to retract the RFP was taken after the DRDO expressed confidence of producing the ATGMs.

India's Kalyani group and Israel's state-run Rafael Advanced Defence Systems had commissioned a Rs 70 crore production facility near Hyderabad in August last year, anticipating that the Israeli firm would bag the contract.

Last week, the Israeli firm said it received an official notification from India's Ministry of Defence about cancellation of the deal.

In September 2016, India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore.

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