NEW DELHI: In order to boost its anti-tank capability against arch-rival Pakistan, the Government of India is reportedly keen on buying 'Spike' missiles from Israel.
According to a Bloomberg report, the Government of India (GoI) may soon place an order for buying the Spike anti-tank guided missiles from Israel.
The report quoted a source as saying that the Indian Army wants to buy the Spike missiles to boost its anti-tank capabilities. The procurement of Spike missiles will be used as a "stop-gap" measure before the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) could actually come up with an indigenously developed anti-tank missile for the Indian Army.
The DRDO is likely to take three years to develop the indigenous anti-tank guided missile.
The proposal to purchase Israeli Spike missiles is believed to be in the advanced stage and awaits government's nod, according to the source, who revealed this on condition of anonymity.
If the proposal is approved, the order for the purchase of the anti-tank guided missiles could be placed this year to meet the Army's urgent requirements, the source said.
The Spike anti-tank guided missiles have been developed by Israeli firm Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.
A Rafael spokesman had too confirmed that a deal to buy Spike missiles is under consideration in India. However, he refused to divulge more details before an official announcement.
Interestingly, after a long procurement process, the government had annulled its plan to buy USD 500-million worth of Spike missiles in January 2018.
The decision was taken just ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to New Delhi earlier this year. Netanyahu is believed to have raised this issue during talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Later addressing a press briefing, the Israeli leader had said that the deal was back on track.
The government annulled the contract after the DRDO announced its plan to develop an indigenous anti-tank missile to meet the Army requirement of over 8,000 anti-tank missiles.
The DRDO is likely to deliver the indigenously developed anti-tank missile for military trials by the end of 2018. Once the trials are successful, the mass production of the indigenously developed anti-tank missiles will start by 2021.