Uncertainty prevails over $500 million deal that Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Limited hopes to sign with the Indian government.
India on the other hand is trying to develop its own Anti-Tank Guided Missile, NAG 190. According to reports published in Israeli website Globes, Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) tested its anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) NAG 190 in desert conditions against two tank targets last week.
Indian defence experts believe that by the end of this year NAG will be fully developed, whereas Israeli defence experts hold different opinion. According to them It will take minimum five years for NAG to be fully operational.
According to some media reports, there has been dispute between DRDO and the Indian Army. The army wants to buy 8,000 Spike Missiles which are developed by Rafael in collaboration with an Indian company. On the other hand DRDO wants that NAG should be favoured but the army still insists on Spike missiles as they are fully operational.
India had earlier scrapped this long pending deal in November last, but during Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to India in January this year the deal is revived again.
Netanyahu is in favour of this deal. During his visit he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed $500 million Spike missile deal. In his tweet Netanyahu said, “Following the talks I had with my friend Prime Minister @NarendraModi, the Indian government has informed us that it is putting the Spike deal back on track. This is very important and there will be many more deals.”
CEO of Rafael Advanced System Yoav Har Even accompanied Netanyahu in his visit to India in January.
As quoted by Globes, An Israeli defence ministry source said, “The dialogue with the Indians is continuing all the time and lately it seems that institutions in the country are falling in line behind doing the deal with Rafael because it will be a long time before the Indian missile is operational. Clearly the Indians want to develop and manufacture everything they need and the idea that until they will have full capabilities on this subject, they will buy Israeli missiles.”
Rafael has already formed a joint venture with the Indian company Kalyani to manufacture Spike missiles in India. Plant for developing Spike missiles in India was already inaugurated in Hyderabad in 2017. Over 30 countries have purchased Spike missiles from Israel.