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On again? Talk of India-Israel Spike ATGM missile deal revived ahead of Netanyahu visit

India is again considering a purchase of Spike anti-tank guided missiles from Israel in a government-to-government deal that does not involve transfer of technology, according to reports.

The move comes after an earlier $500 million deal with to procure Spike missiles from Israel’s Rafael was scrapped in November in favor of an indigenously developed and produced system.

According to The Hindustan Times, India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation which is developing the indigenous Nag missile, will not object to the deal as long as it does not involve transfer of technology.

Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emphasised transfer of technology in his ‘Make In India’ strategy, the government is now examining the possibility of purchasing the missiles from Israel through the government-to-government route, PTI reported. Unnamed sources said Rafael expressed reservations about the transfer of technology.

India’s Kalyani group and Rafael commissioned a 70 crore rupee ($11 million) production facility near Hyderabad in August 2017 to manufacture the missiles.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will lead a business delegation on a four-day visit to India next week, and talks on deepening defence ties between the two countries are likely.

On January 2, India’s Raksha Mantri (defence minister) Nirmala Sitharaman approved India’s purchase of 131 Barak missiles and associated equipment Rafael for $72.5 million. The missiles are to be deployed as a ship-borne anti-missile defence system on India’s first indigenously built aircraft carrier which is currently under construction.

The land- or sea-based Barak 8 air defense missile was jointly developed by DRDO along with various Israeli organizations including Rafael.

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