After years of twist and turns, Indian Army has inducted the fire and forget Spike anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) along the Line of Control (LoC). The missiles were delivered to India as an emergency purchase against the backdrop of escalation with Pakistan in February of this year.
An army official, without revealing his name, said that over 100 third-generation missiles have been inducted into the northern theatre and they are being used currently against the adversaries.
India’s defence ministry had ordered 240 Spikes and 12 launchers from Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems in July this year, as the military is short of such missiles and it plans to induct at least 40,000 anti-tank guided missiles within 20 years.
For future induction, the Indian Army will depend upon domestically developed Man-Portable ATGM that had completed the trial earlier this year.
Under a special emergency provision, the Indian Army’s Vice Chief of Staff had the authority to purchase up to $71.8 million worth of goods and war materiel without seeking Ministry of Defence (MoD) approval. He used that to stock up on guided anti-tank missiles in the wake of a tense showdown with Pakistan earlier this year.
India’s Man Portable ATGM is a third-generation anti-tank guided missile which is fitted with a high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead. The MPATGM reportedly boasts a top attack capability and has a maximum engagement range of about 2.5 kilometres.
India and Pakistan have been at loggerhead over Kashmir as well since 5 August when India abrogated article 370 from the Indian constitution. With the abrogation of ‘temporary’ article 370, India claimed that it had completed the integration of Jammu and Kashmir into the Indian Territory while Pakistan accused India of violating a bilateral agreement to maintain the status quo on the region.