India will purchase Spike Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) from Israel through the so-called government to government (G to G) route because the military wants the proven weapon, and the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has no objections to the deal as long as it does not involve transfer of technology (TOT). Last month after much deliberations, the defence ministry withdraw the Request for Proposals (RFP) for 8,000 Israeli spike missiles, a deal that would have been worth $500 million, after DRDO developed the indigenous Nag ATGM with seeker software and said it was against any TOT from Rafael Advanced Systems, the Israeli company that makes the Spike missile.
While the Israelis were upset as the withdrawal of RFP came almost on the eve of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to New Delhi on January 14, South Block officials said they have no objections to the Indian Army purchasing the long range (not line of sight) ATGM from Israel through the G to G route. This decision has been discussed at the highest level, they added, especially because Rafael Systems, Bharat Dynamics Limited and Kalyani Strategic Systems have set up a factory to manufacture the ATGM in Hyderabad under the “ Make in India” route.
Spike is a battle proven missile which has much longer range and comparatively light in weight when compared to Nag. The Nag missile has performed well in trials and has range of 500 meters to four kilometers. Defence ministry officials were at pains to emphasize that India has a deep defence cooperation with Israel and has recently approved a huge order to purchase torpedoes for its new submarines from that country. India is also looking to purchase assault rifles for the Army from Israel, they added.