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FILE PHOTO - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (2nd R) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2nd L) visit the Indian Army Cemetery of World War I to honour fallen Indian soldiers, in the Israeli coastal city of Haifa July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Jack Guez/Pool


JERUSALEM (Reuters) - India's Ministry of Defence has called off an order to buy Spike anti-tank guided missiles from Israel's state-owned defence contractor Rafael, the company said on Wednesday.

The deal was worth about $500 million (368.30 million pounds) and the announcement of its termination came just a couple of weeks before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to visit India.

Indian officials had no immediate comment.

The countries have grown closer since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi rose to power in 2014, broadening commercial cooperation beyond their long-standing defence ties.

Modi became the first sitting Indian prime minister to visit Israel last summer, and Netanyahu will fly to India on Jan. 14.

"Rafael regrets the decision and remains committed to cooperating with the Indian Ministry of Defence and to its strategy of continuing to work in India, an important market, as it has for more than two decades, to provide India with the most advanced and innovative systems," the company said.

Rafael, whose CEO will join Netanyahu on his trip, said the cancellation was made prior to the signing of the final contract and despite its compliance with all demands.

(Reporting by Dan Williams and Ari Rabinovitch Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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