India has picked Israel over the US to supply anti-tank guided missiles as the government Saturday cleared projects worth Rs 80,000 crore to modernise ageing military hardware and boost domestic industry.
The defence acquisition council (DAC) gave its go-ahead to Israeli’s Spike, knocking the American Javelin missile out of competition. Israel will supply 321 launchers and 8,356 missiles, with the rest of the army’s requirements being met through home production under transfer of technology. The order is worth Rs 3,200 crore.The government has been pushing for greater indigenisation of the military industry as India imports around 70% of its defence hardware, with the US recently overtaking Russia as its biggest arms supplier. The government has also raised to 49% the cap on foreign investment to speed up modernisation of the military.
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 Defence Systems.
The DAC, headed by defence minister Arun Jaitley, also set the ball rolling to scale up the undersea capabilities of the navy. The council cleared a Rs 50,000-crore project for six next-generation submarines to be built in India in collaboration with a foreign partner. The decision is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” campaign.
The new submarines will be capable of recharging batteries without having to surface for more than three weeks.
They will also have land-attack missile capability. Initially, the plan was to directly import two submarines and manufacture the remaining four in India.
The defence ministry would form a panel that would examine the capabilities of both public and private shipyards over the next six to eight weeks, a source in the defence ministry said. The ministry will then issue a request for proposals to a specific yard.
French, Russian, German and Spanish firms are interested in partnering with India for the project.
Purchase of 12 Dornier aircraft for the navy at a cost of Rs 1,850 crore and 362 infantry combat vehicles for R662 crore were also cleared by the DAC in its meeting, third after the Modi government took over in May.