India has yet again emerged as the world’s largest importer of weapons and military equipment, accounting for 15 per cent of global imports, with Russia being its majority supplier, a Stockholm-based think tank today said.
Between 2005 – 2009 and 2010 – 14, India’s imports increased by 140 per cent. In 2010 – 14, India’s imports were three times larger than those of either of its regional rivals China and Pakistan, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said.
This is in contrast with the 2005 – 2009 period when India’s imports were 23 per cent below China’s and just over double of those of Pakistan.
Of the top 10 largest importers of major weapons during the five-year period (2010 – 14), five are in Asia — India (15 per cent of global arms imports), China (5 per cent), Pakistan (4 per cent), South Korea (3 per cent) and Singapore (3 per cent), according to the report, titled ‘Trends in International Arms Transfers’.
These five countries accounted for 30 per cent of the total volume of arms imports worldwide.
India accounted for 34 per cent of the volume of arms imported to Asia, more than three times as much as China. China’s arms imports actually decreased by 42 per cent between 2005 – 2009 and 2010 – 14.
In 2010 – 14, Russia supplied 70 per cent of India’s arms imports, the US 12 per cent and Israel 7 per cent. The acquisitions from the US are a break with the recent past.
Prior to 2005 – 2009, India barely received any major weapons from the US. However, there now appears to be an upward trend in arms imports from the US.
Imports in 2010 – 14 were 15 times higher than in 2005 – 2009 and included advanced weapons such as anti-submarine warfare aircraft. In 2014, additional deals with the US were agreed, including that for 22 combat helicopters.
India was the world’s largest importer of weapons and military equipment in 2013 and 2014.