With an aim to make India a defence manufacturing hub, the Narendra Modi government has decided to cancel a $500 million deal for Spike ATGM with Israel, according to Indian Express report. Instead of procuring it from Isreal, the Defence Ministry led by Nirmala Sitharaman wanted the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to indigenously develop and build a Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) for the Army. It has been learnt that the deal was expected to be signed after price negotiations with Rafael Advanced Defence Systems of Israel were completed last year.
“DRDO has successfully produced the Nag and Anamika ATGMs. It is confident about providing the Army with an MPATGM of 3rd generation missile technology, at par with Spike, within three to four years. It won’t also need any transfer of technology,” Ministry sources told The Indian Express said.It has been learnt that the decision to cancel the deal was based on the consideration that importing a foreign ATGM at this stage would adversely impact the programme for indigenous development of the weapon system by DRDO. Earlier, India had also rejected an offer from US-based Raytheon-Lockheed Martin for Javelin ATGM in favour of the Israeli weapon system.
Earlier on May 28, Arun Jaitley, who took over the additional charge of Defnece Ministry after Manohar Parrikar had became Goa Chief Minister, had pitched for buidling indegenious equipment saying it is essential to deal with various security challenges like insurgency effectively. No country can secure itself by depending on others for its defence supplies, the minister said amid steps by the government to bring in private players in the sector, Jaitley had said.
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“We cannot change our neighbours. And our neighbourhood has thrown up security challenges. We are facing insurgency and war for the last 70 years. Therefore, India needs to become an important defence manufacturing hub,” he had said at the 9th convocation of the Defence Institute of Advance Technology (DIAT).
“If the economy requires us to become a manufacturing hub, then security requires us to become a hub for defence manufacturing. This is the area where the country will have to use the vast resources it possesses. We will have to use the large number of academic institutions we have for training minds and cover up the critical gap that still exists,” Jaitley had said.
The country has institutions like IITs, DRDO labs and a large number of private institutes which can help it achieve the goal, the minister said. “But the new India is a more confident India, it is not the defensive India. It is India, which is willing to globally integrate, share knowledge, get knowledge from outside,” he said.