INDIA HAS scrapped a $500-million deal with Israel for the purchase of Spike anti-tank missiles from defence contractor Rafael Advanced Defense Systems after indigenous developer Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) claimed that it could deliver an alternative within two years.

Moreover, Spike missiles needed to undergo additional tests to prove its infrared system in the country’s high-temperature environment. The Army was said to be sceptical of the missile’s performance in the hot western deserts adjoining Pakistan.

DRDO offered to deliver thousands of indigenous Man Portable Anti-tank Guided Missile  (MPATGM) by 2021, almost the time it would take Rafael to deliver its Strike missiles, said officials.

India’s deal with Israel for 321 Spike launchers and 8,356 missiles was initially struck in October 2014 after the Defence Ministry selected Spike over the US-made FGM-148 Javelin. But it was scrapped in December 2017 in favour of DRDO.It was “reauthorized” in January 2018 following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India.