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India scraps Israel’s $500 million dollar missile deal

India’s Defense Ministry has reportedly cancelled a multi-million dollar deal to acquire “Spike” anti-tanks missiles developed by the Israeli Refael arms manufacturer.  Refael is denying  the report, insisting that it had not been “officially informed of any changes” and that plans are on track as scheduled.

The Indian Express reported on Monday that India cancelled the $500 million deal with  Rafael in favor of India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), which is indigenously developing and producing a similar weapon.

The Express quoted Indian sources who explained that the decision to cancel the deal was based on the consideration that importing a foreign product would adversely impact the local weapons industry.

India had yet to sign the deal with Refael, but the two sides were reportedly at the final stages of negotiations.

The   decision to retract the deal could be a setback to the modernization of the Indian army. The army had argued that the Spike “gives a major capability impetus to troops deployed on the ‘Line of Control,’ especially in the current operational scenario.”

India decided to acquire an Israeli-made anti-tank rocket, picking it over the US-made Javelin, in October 2014.

The “Spike,” known as the “Gil” in Hebrew, is a fire-and-forget long-range anti-tank rocket with a guidance system which locks on its target before launching. The Spike  has medium, long and extended range versions and has been sold to 26 countries worldwide.

Israel and India enjoy the sharing of technological developments, and India is one of Israel’s biggest clients in the defense technology market. Israel’s military delegation to India is second in size only to its delegation to America.

The deal was described as a major milestone in Israeli-Indian relations.

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