India has once again emerged as the largest importer of weapons and it accounts for almost 11 per cent of all such international imports of different military equipment.
According to a report released by the Sweden-based think-tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on Monday morning, countries including Qatar, Australia, China and Saudi Arabia hold the fourth position as global importers of weapons.
The third position is held by Russia (16 per cent), France (11 per cent), and the US (40 per cent) of global share. The assessment report which is released by the SIPRI is made for a five year period (2018-2022) and is titled `Trends in International Arms Transfer -2022’.
The report has compared the trend based on five year blocks – 2013-2017 and 2018-2022 and has indicated that there has been a decline in Indian arms imports in global share. “Despite this, India was the world’s largest importer of major arms in 2018-22 and accounted for 11 per cent of total global arms imports in the period,” the report said.
As per the report, while Russia continues to be the largest supplier of arms to India and supplied 45 per cent of all Indian imports, from France India has imported 29 per cent and from the US 11 per cent of equipment. Other countries from where India has imported include South Korea, Israel and South Africa.
The report has also compared two five-year periods of Russia’s share in the Indian market and it has stated that in the period between 2013-2017 Russia was the largest supplier of arms in that period to India. However in the period of 2018-2022 the imports fell from 64 per cent to 45 per cent.
In 2022 Ukraine is now world’s third largest arms importer
According to Pieter D Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme, ‘‘Due to concerns about how the supply of combat aircraft and long-range missiles could further escalate the war in Ukraine, NATO states declined Ukraine’s requests for them in 2022. At the same time, they supplied such arms to other states involved in conflict, particularly in the Middle East and South Asia.’’
Following the Russia-Ukraine war many European nations as well as the US have sent in military aid to Ukraine making it the third largest country in the world to import arms in 2022 after India and Qatar. And in the five year bracket of 2018-2022 it holds the 14th position, this means that Ukraine has accounted for 2.0 per cent of global arms imports in the five year period. Between 1991-2021 Ukraine imported a few major arms.
The SIPRI report states that Russia continues to hold the top position as a main arms’ supplier to India and is now facing competition from other countries which too are supplying to India. Also, India has been focussing on self reliance in the defence sector and has been pushing local production of critical platforms through Transfer of Technology. Following the Russia-Ukraine war there have been constraints on Russia’s export of arms.
The growing tension along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as well as Line of Control (LoC) has driven India’s demand for arms.
Pakistan’s arms imports have increased by almost 14 percent between the period 2013-2017 and 2018-2022, this means it has accounted for 3.7 per cent of the global total.
Between 2018-22 China has supplied over three quarters (77 per cent) of Pakistan’s arms imports.