India and Israel are close to signing a deal for Spike Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) worth an estimated INR3200 Crore (US$500 million approx).
The deal is expected to be on the anvil when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Israel next month. Ahead of Modi's visit, Chief of Indian Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba left yesterday for Tel Aviv on a four day official visit.
The move is the latest in a series of big-ticket defense contracts that were approved recently. “The Spike deal is not yet sealed, but it is almost done. We expect to conclude it very soon,” an official was quoted as saying by The Hindu Sunday.
The purchase of Spike missiles was approved by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in October 2014, but negotiations on the contract ran into trouble over cost and technology transfer.
The deal includes 8,000-plus missiles, 300-plus launchers and technology transfer. Further, the deal is likely to expand as the Army aims to equip its 382 infantry battalions and 44 mechanised regiments with new missiles.
According to information presented in Parliament by Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre in March, during 2015-16 and 2016-17 (till February 2017), 37 contracts have been signed with vendors of various countries for capital procurement of defence equipment.
Seven contracts have been signed with Israel, keeping it second to US with whom nine contracts have been signed.