(January 18, 2018 / JNS) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel’s $500 million Spike missile deal with India is back on after the pact’s reported cancellation last November.
“They are reauthorizing the Spike deal. We are going in a very positive direction,” Netanyahu said Wednesday. “There is a process ahead. Before we came the deal was taken off the table and during this current visit we have returned it to the table.”
India’s 2014 deal to purchase the anti-tank missiles from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems had purportedly been overturned because the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation planned to develop and produce its own anti-tank missile domestically.
But Indian media reported last week that the deal—which would see India purchase 8,000 Spike missiles and 300 launchers—was back on, a development confirmed Wednesday by Netanyahu.
Also on Wednesday, Netanyahu toured Gujarat, the home province of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The two leaders were greeted by thousands of Indians who poured into the streets waving Israeli and Indians flags, while displaying signs bearing the faces of Netanyahu and Modi.
Netanyahu said he was deeply moved by the outpouring of support for Israel by the Indian people.
“I’ve been in diplomatic life for 30 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Netanyahu said. “This expresses a personal and national tie, an international link which is incredibly powerful. There were tens of thousands of people there, maybe hundreds of thousands. I’ve never seen myself in such photos.”
Netanyahu visited the province to attend an exhibition that showcased young Indian entrepreneurs and 36 Indian start-ups.
“The world knows about iPod, they know about iPad, well there’s one more ‘I’ that the world needs to know about—iCreate,” Netanyahu said while visiting the iCreate Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology.
Modi said, “When I went to Israel last year, I made up my mind that this foundation should have more strong relations with Israel. Since then, I was waiting for my friend Benjamin Netanyahu to come to India. He is here and now we are inaugurating this foundation.”
“We are working towards making entire system in our country innovation-friendly, so that ideas are formed from intent, innovations are formed from ideas and the new India is formed from innovations,” he added.