India top arms buyer with 11% of international imports

New Delhi, March 15 (KMS): India has once again emerged as the world’s largest importer of weapons and military equipment, accounting for 11 per cent of all such international imports. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Australia and China are the next four biggest importers.

The US, Russia and France are the world’s three biggest exporters with 39 per cent, 19 per cent and 11 per cent share, respectively.

These trends have emerged from a report released by Sweden-based think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) this morning.

The assessment was done for a five-year period (2017-2021).

Titled “Trends in international arms transfers-2021”, the report compared two blocks of five years each — 2012-16 and 2017-21. It said Indian arms imports fell by 21%. “Despite this, India was the world’s largest importer of major arms in 2017-21 and accounted for 11 per cent of the total imports in the period,” it said.

Russia was the largest supplier of major arms to India in both 2012-16 and 2017-21, but India’s imports from Russia dropped by 47 per cent between the two periods as several large programmes for Russian arms wound down.

Russia’s share of total Indian arms imports fell from 69 per cent to 46 per cent. In contrast, India’s arms imports from France comprised 27 per cent of its total imports during 2017-21. The US was the third largest supplier with 12 per cent of the imports.

The report said Indian imports were caused due to perceived growing threats from China and allies and because of significant delays in the production of its own major arms.