India chooses Israeli Spike anti-tank missile

India has opted to buy Israel's Spike anti-tank guided missile, a defense ministry source said, rejecting a rival U.S. offer of Javelin missiles that Washington had lobbied hard to win.

India will buy at least 8,000 Spike missiles and more than 300 launchers in a deal worth 32 billion rupees ($525 million), the source said after a meeting of India's Defense Acquisition Council.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government is serious about clearing a backlog of defense orders and boost India's firepower, amid recent border tensions with China and heavy exchanges of fire with Pakistan across the Kashmiri frontier.

Among other business cleared by the panel, India will issue a request for proposals to supply six submarines, added the source, who was not authorized to comment on the record and did not elaborate.

Spike is a man-portable 'fire and forget' anti-tank missile that locks on to targets before shooting. It is produced by Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

It beat the rival U.S. Javelin weapons system, built by Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Co, which US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had pitched during India’s Prime Minister’s visit to Washington at the end of September.

Senior U.S. officials had said they were still discussing the Javelin order as part of a broader push to deepen defense industry ties with India by increasing the share of production done in the country.

Analysts estimate that India will invest as much as $250 billion in upgrading its Soviet-era military hardware and close the gap on strategic rival China.

Courtesy India Tomorrow.Co

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