India Cancels $500 Million Deal For Israeli Anti-Tank Missiles

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Spike is a man-portable “fire and forget’ missile built by Israel’s state-run firm, Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, which can hit moving targets such as a tank. It allows the soldier who fires the missile to quickly move for cover.

JERUSALEM (Reuters) — Indian Ministry of defense has called off an order to buy Spike anti-tank guided missiles from Israel’s state-owned defense contractor Rafael, the company said on Wednesday.

The deal was worth about $500 million and the announcement of its termination came just a couple of weeks before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to visit India.

Indian officials had no immediate comment.

The countries have grown closer since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi rose to power in 2014, broadening commercial cooperation beyond their long-standing defence ties.

Modi became the first sitting Indian prime minister to visit Israel last summer, and Netanyahu will fly to India on Jan. 14.

“Rafael regrets the decision and remains committed to cooperating with the Indian ministry of defence and to its strategy of continuing to work in India, an important market, as it has for more than two decades, to provide India with the most advanced and innovative systems,” the company said.

Rafael, whose CEO will join Netanyahu on his trip, said the cancellation was made prior to the signing of the final contract and despite its compliance with all demands.

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