India is world’s 2nd largest arms importer

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According to the latest report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) India was the world’s second largest arms importer from 2014-18, ceding the long-held tag as largest importer to Saudi Arabia, which accounted for 12% of the total imports during the period.

However, Indian imports decreased by 24% between 2009-13 and 2014-18, partly due to delays in deliveries of arms produced under licence from foreign suppliers, such as combat aircraft ordered from Russia in 2001 and submarines ordered from France in 2008.

Country wise Split-up

Russia accounted for 58% of Indian arms imports in 2014–18, compared with 76% in 2009-13 which includes

  • S-400 air defence systems,
  • Four stealth frigates,
  • AK-203 assault rifles,
  • Second nuclear attack submarine on lease, and
  • Deals for Kamov-226T utility helicopters, Mi-17 helicopters and short-range air defence systems.

Israel, the U.S. and France all increased their arms exports to India in 2014-18.

The report noted that despite the long-standing conflict between India and Pakistan, arms imports decreased for both countries in 2014-18 compared with 2009-13.

Pakistan at 11th

Pakistan stood at the 11th position accounting for 2.7% of all global imports. Its biggest source was China, from which 70% of arms were sourced, followed by the U.S. at 8.9% and, interestingly, Russia at 6%.

Globally, the volume of international transfers of major arms in 2014-18 was 7.8% higher than in 2009-13 and 23% higher than in 2004-2008. The five largest exporters in 2014-18 were the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China together accounting for 75% of the total volume of arms exports in 2014-18. The flow of arms increased to the Middle East between 2009-13 and 2014-18, while there was a decrease in flows to all other regions.

China, which has emerged as a major arms exporter, has increased its share by 2.7% for 2014-18 compared to 2009-13. Its biggest customers are Pakistan and Bangladesh.

As Indian imports reduced, the impact was on Russian exports of major arms, which decreased by 17% between 2009-13 and 2014-18. The report said this was partly due to general reductions in Indian and Venezuelan arms imports, which have been among the main recipients of Russian arms exports in previous years.

About Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

  • Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is an international institute based in Sweden, dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.
  • Established in 1966, SIPRI provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public.
  • SIPRI was ranked among the top three non-US world-wide think tanks in 2014 by the University of Pennsylvania Lauder Institute’s Global Go To Think Tanks Report.
  • In 2018 it ranked SIPRI in the top twenty eight among think tanks globally
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