India has cancelled a massive multi-million dollar missile deal with Israel, the Indian press reported on Monday, in what would be a major blow to flourishing Israeli-Indian ties.
According to the report, a 2014 decision by New Delhi to purchase Rafael Advanced Defense System’s Spike anti-tank guided missile, had been overturned.
Instead, the Indian Express reported, the Indian government has asked the country’s Defense Research and Development Organization to develop its own anti-tank missile.
India had decided to purchase the Spike missile in 2014, selecting Israel’s government-owned Rafael defense contractor over a rival US offer of Javelin missiles that Washington had lobbied hard to win.
According to reports at the time, India was slated to buy at least 8,000 Spike missiles and more than 300 launchers in a deal worth over $500 million. Rafael had reportedly opened a missile manufacturing plant in India along with Indian partner.
Cancellation of the deal is a blow to Israeli-Indian defense ties and comes just months after Israel Aerospace Industries signed a $630 million deal with the Indian state-owned aerospace and defense company Bharat Electronics Limited to provide India with the naval version of the aerial defense system Barak 8 for four navy ships.
India has become one of Israel’s largest buyers of military hardware, with annual defense deals worth over $1b. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a historic first visit to Jerusalem in early July to highlight the growing bilateral relationship between the two countries.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to travel to India on January 14 for a three-day visit to meet with Modi. It is unclear if the cancelled deal will affect their planned meeting.