Indian Express reported that Indian Ministry of Defense ultimately decided against buying the large shipment of Spike Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) for $525 million developed by Israeli Rafael Defense Systems. The decision was made at the last moment. Rafael report that they did not receive any official statement from India, and the contract is still ongoing.
In 2009, the Indian Ministry of Defense accepted the requirement of buying 321 ATGM launchers and 8,356 missiles, with 30 per cent offsets and a transfer of technology clause, with 30% offsets and a transfer of technology clause.
Two options were considered: Israeli Spike-MR and US FGM-148 Javelin by Texas Instruments and Martin Marietta (now Raytheon and Lockheed Martin). The US refused to transfer the technology, so India had a trial evaluation of Rafael’s Spike missiles in India in 2011-2012, and in 2013 Ministry of Defense gave the go ahead to for procuring the missiles from Israel. The US later decided to to offer the Javelin ATGM with transfer of technology but India was set on Spike.
The trials highlighted a problem with one of the two homing devices in the launcher which led to constitution of a study group. The study group presented its report in August 2014, and the ministry agreed in October 2014 to procure the missiles from Rafael. Price negotiations between Rafael and the Ministry started in March 2015. After the prices were finalised in June 2016, then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar constituted an experts committee to review the evaluation report and explore the possibility of an indigenous missile system.
Rafael entered a joint venture with Indian Kalyani group and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) as part of missile production preparations. A manufacturing plant meant for manufacturing of missile subsystems was built in August of 2017 in Hyderabad, with start of production slated for 2018.
However, India continued exploring the possibility of an indigenous missile system. The Army was against that as development would take time and divert the finances. Currently Indian Army use second generation Milan guided missiles without thermal sights. The amount of missiles available won’t be enough for 10 days of active combat, as there is a deficit of about 68 thousand guided missiles in the Army.
On the other hand, Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was against buying the missiles, as they claimed that India, having experience in making second generation Nag and Anamika missiles, may be able to manufacture a indigenous third generation missile in 3-4 years. Buying the missiles, DRDO argued, may harm the defense industry potential in the country.