Israel’s PM says India reconsidering shelved missile deal

January 18, 2018

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the India-Israel Business Summit in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. Netanyahu is on a six-day visit to India. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

NEW DELHI (AP) — Israel’s prime minister said that a $500 million Spike anti-tank missile deal that India shelved with Israel is back on the table.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted late Wednesday that following his talks with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Indian government informed the Israeli side that it’s putting the deal with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. back on the track.

“This is very important for us and there will be many more deals,” he said, without giving details.

The Indian Express newspaper said the deal had been called off in favor of indigenous development by state-run Defense Research & Development Organization. Indian official did not comment immediately Thursday.

Netanyahu, who is on a six-day visit to India, held talks with Modi in New Delhi on Monday and the two visited Modi’s home state of Gujarat on Wednesday. Netanyahu’s visit ends Friday.

Israel is India’s third-largest supplier of weapons after the United States and Russia. Last year, Israel’s state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries announced over $2 billion in air and missile-defense contracts with India.

India also is a key buyer of Israeli drones with a fleet of more than 150 Israeli-made UAVs.

An Israeli firm is also expected to supply a naval defense system for India’s first aircraft carrier, which is under construction.

Update hourly