Israel's Rafael and India's DRDO have been engaged in a war of words after Israel's defence technology firm put out snarky remarks about India's defences. Rafael, in a bid to make a sales pitch for its Spike LR missiles, ended up talking down DRDO's efforts to develop an indigenous anti-tank guided missile.
The reason behind the unusual PR statement on the Spike missiles and DRDO ATGMs remains unclear, but it sure didn't sit well with the Indian Army or the R&D division of the Ministry of Defence. But Rafael issued a new statement in an effort to do some damage control and "clear the misrepresentation."
"Rafael Advanced Defense Systems would like to clear the misrepresentation in media today, and condemns such conjectures that are drawn without any truth. We apologize for any unintended communication that has triggered emotional misbalance," Rafael said in a statement on Friday.
While the earlier PR statement took direct swipes at DRDO publicly, Rafael's changed its tone in the new statement release, which "applauds the work done by DRDO in building new-age technologies for India." This shows the earlier press release was a PR snafu.
It is important for Rafael to maintain good relations with India's DRDO as there are several major weapons project partnerships between India and Israel. Rafael's SpyDer SAM system in the Indian Air Force, the Spice 2000 precision-guided bombs, Derby and Python air-to-air missiles are part of India's weapon arsenal and it would hurt Rafael to have bad relations with DRDO, especially stirred due to some PR nightmare.
"These reports are disturbing the amicable relationship of the two organizations that are committed to serve India. We wish to put on record that our collective effort will bring in the best in class technologies that will strengthen India's defence systems," Rafael said.
In response to the poorly worded PR statement on behalf of Rafael triggered a response from DRDO almost instantly. The R&D unit of the Indian MoD corrected Rafael by stating its ATGM is a state of art missile in advanced stages of development. This was in response to Rafael calling DRDO's ATGM a 3rd generation missile.
"Both the DRDO's ATGM programme, as well as the invitation to Indian industry to develop a 3rd Gen missile will need a rethink, as having a 4th Gen missile will put the plan for the development of a 3rd Gen missile questionable," Rafael had stated in the previous press release.
Looks like a truce has been called. DRDO's response is awaited. Stay tuned for updates.