Israel steals huge defense contract from US
Israel's defense industry gets huge kudos this morning after India has chosen Israel's Spike anti-tank missile system over the United States' Javelin system. The contract is worth half a billion dollars
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government will buy 8,356 Spike
missiles and 321 launchers from Israel in a deal worth 32 billion rupees
($525 million), defense ministry sources told AFP.
The government is moving to speed up long-delayed defense orders and
bolster its military. The Israeli deal comes after recent firing along
India's border with nuclear-armed rival Pakistan and tensions with giant
The procurement deals, worth 800 billion rupees ($13.1 billion) in
total, were cleared at a meeting of India's Defense Acquisition Council,
headed by Defense Minister Arun Jaitley, on Saturday.
"It (the council) has cleared a deal for Spikes," a defense ministry official, who asked not to be named, told AFP.
"It's a fire and forget kind of missile," the official said, referring to the fact the missile locks onto targets before firing.
"You can say there was a rival bid from the US for its Javelin
missiles," the official said, adding that India's army trialed the Spike
missiles "successfully last year".
Significantly, this latest development comes just one month after
India agreed to buy 262 Israeli-made Barak 1 surface-to-air missiles for
its navy, to the tune of $144 million.
India is currently the largest buyer of Israeli defense hardware, and
Israel's military delegation to India is second only in size to its
delegation to America. The two countries also have a Joint Working group
on counter-terrorism, with bilateral ties flourishing under India's new
Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Modi and US President Barack Obama agreed on greater defense
cooperation during a meeting in Washington last month, when the US
reportedly lobbied for its Javelin missiles.
"The DAC (Defense Acquisition Council) took the decision based on
purely technical reasons and based on hard facts. It had been on the
agenda for some time," another unnamed defense ministry official told AFP.
Israel's defense industry has demonstrated once again that it is capable of independence. That has huge implications for future relations with the United States. Change - but good change for once.
Labels: India, Narenda Modi, Rafael