NEW DELHI: Ahead of US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter’s three-day visit to India on April 10, Ministry of Defence officials based in New Delhi are considering the revival of Pentagon’s offer to co-produce anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) systems for the Indian Army, as the ongoing-project with Israel failed to make any headway despite waiting for 17 months.
In October 2014, former Defence Minister Arun Jaitley selected the Israeli ‘Spike’ ATGM over the US Javelin missile system, but the actual contract has been hanging fire since then. The Army has been grappling with the shortage of state-of-the-art anti-tank missiles. The US had offered not only to “co-produce” the ATGMs, but also to “co-develop” its fourth-generation version with India. Officials claim that the price quoted in the commercial bid was almost double the bench mark price. The Israeli firm has also sought an additional amount on each missile to be produced in India, which will be above the cost of the transfer of technology. The DAC cleared an initial off-the-shelf purchase of 321 Israeli Spike launchers and 8,356 missiles for Rs 3,200 crore.
Moreover, during Carter’s visit, the two countries will also discuss key issue for pushing India to sign three agreements — Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement, Logistics Support Agreement and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement.
Besides, there will be a be repatriation ceremony during Carter’s visit honouring American soldiers who died on Indian soil in the Second World War in air crashes. US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter will visit the famous Mangeshi temple, besides two churches during his visit to Goa next week. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will receive Carter at the temple, built in 1890, and take him around the complex which is in Old Goa.