India has chosen to buy anti-tank guided missiles from Israel, rejecting a rival U.S. offer, as the right-wing government clears projects worth $13.1 billion (TL 29.2 billion) to modernize its ageing military, official sources said Sunday. 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 neighbor China. The procurement deals, worth 800 billion rupees ($13.1 billion) in total, were cleared at a meeting of India's Defense Acquisition Council.
"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 U.S. for its Javelin missiles," the official said, adding that India's army trialed the Spike missiles "successfully last year."
India, the world's biggest arms importer, is in the midst of a $100-billion defense upgrade program and cleared proposals worth nearly $3.5
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