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At 13 pc, India is world’s largest importer of major arms in last four years: report

India has been the largest importer of major arms in the world, accounting for a staggering 13 per cent of all arms imports between 2012 and 2016.
India TV News Desk New Delhi February 20, 2017 18:28 IST
India TV News Desk

India has been the largest importer of major arms in the world, accounting for a staggering 13 per cent of all arms imports between 2012 and 2016.

According to the annual report on arms transfer by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute released Monday, global arms trade has steadily increased in volume the past five years, propelled by an almost doubling of arms imports in the Middle East and strong growth in demand in Asia.

India increased its arms imports by 43 per cent, between 2007–11 and 2012–16. In the last four years, India’s imports were far greater than those of its regional rivals China and Pakistan, SIPRI said in its report released today on international arms transfer.

"While China is increasingly able to substitute arms imports with indigenous products, India remains dependent on weapons technology from many willing suppliers, including Russia, the USA, European states, Israel and South Korea," said Siemon Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme in a statement to press.

The report said that more weapons were delivered between 2012 and 2016 than during any other five-year period since 1990. Five countries — United States, Russia, China, France, Germany — accounted for 74 percent of the total arms exports.

The global transfer of major weapons systems rose over the past five years to the highest volume since the end of the Cold War, according to the annual report on weapons sales released by SIPRI on Monday.

The report said the Middle East nearly doubled its arms imports and India's share in the global imports went up to 13 per cent.

According to the study, the increase in arms transfers were driven by demand in Middle east and Asia, with imports by countries in South East Asia going up by 6.2 per cent from 2007–11 to 2012–16.

Vietnam was another country in South East Asia that made a big jump with its arm imports from being the 29th largest importer in 2007–11 to the 10th largest in 2012–16, a 202 percent jump in its arms imports.

On the exports side, the United States of America topped the list of countries with exports increasing by 21 per cent compared with 2007–11, with almost half of its arms exports going to the Middle East.

Russia comes close second that increased its exports by 23 percent, selling its arms to four countries of India, Vietnam, China and Algeria.

China too is climbing the ladder on the arms exports, who is now a top supplier to France and Germany. The only country that seemed to have cut down on its arms exports is Germany, which over a five-year period, decreased its exports by 36 percent between 2007–11 and 2012–16, SIPRI said.

In the African region, Algeria was the largest importer across Africa, in the sub-Saharan Africa Nigeria, Sudan and Ethiopia were all the leading importers of arms.