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Scrapped $500 million Spike anti-tank guided missile deal with India back on track: Israeli media

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on a six-day visit to India.

Scrapped $500 million Spike anti-tank guided missile deal with India back on track: Israeli media
An Israeli soldier demonstrates a Spike anti-tank guided missile launcher (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Nathan Flayer)

Jerusalem: Israeli media on Wednesday quoted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as saying that India will buy Israel's Spike anti-tank guided missiles.

The deal was cancelled a few weeks ahead of Netanyahu's visit to India and its renewal is considered to be a "major strategic achievement", the Jerusalem Post reported.

"India will buy Israel's anti-tank spike missiles," the paper quoted Netanyahu as saying. The final details and scope of the deal are still in the process of being worked out, the Daily said.

Another leading Israeli Daily 'Haaretz' reported that the deal is "back on the table". Quoting Israel's National Security Adviser Meir Ben- Shabbat, the paper said that current talks are trending in a positive direction, and more details will be disclosed later.

The Israeli arms firm, Rafael Advance Defence Systems Ltd, had earlier this month confirmed that India had cancelled the deal and had expressed "regret" over the decision.

As per the original proposal, India had planned to acquire the ATGMs for the Army at a cost of USD 500 million.

Official sources in New Delhi had earlier indicated that the proposal to acquire the missile system faced hurdles when Israeli side apparently expressed reservations in ensuring full transfer of technology as per the provisions of the 'Make in India' initiative, PTI reported.

On January 3, 2018, Ishai David, a spokesman for the Rafael Advance Defence Systems Ltd had said, "Rafael has now received an official notification from India's Ministry of Defence concerning the cancellation of the Spike deal." 

"It should be emphasised that the cancellation was made prior to the signing of the contract and despite Rafael's compliance with all the demands," the company had said in a statement.

"Rafael regrets the decision and remains committed to cooperating with the Indian Ministry of Defence and to its strategy of continuing to work in India, an important market, as it has for more than two decades, to provide India with the most advanced and innovative systems," it had added.

The company had not given a reason for the cancellation of the deal.

Spike, in use by 26 countries around the world, is said to have been selected by India after a long and rigorous process and after complying with all the defence procurement regulations.

Netanyahu is on a six-day visit to India.

(With PTI inputs)