India is amongst the world’s largest arms importers, says SIPRI as it cites conflict with China

The US, Russia, France, China, and Germany accounted for more than three-fourths of the world's exports.

Published: 14th March 2022 01:03 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th March 2022 02:55 PM   |  A+A-

'Tejas' performs as an 'Apache' helicopter is seen parked in the foreground during the 87th Indian Air Force Day celebrations at Hindon Airbase. (File | PTI)

Express News Service

India is amongst the world’s largest arms importers, accounting for 11 per cent of global imports, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). 

Border issues between China and many states in Asia and Ocenia are the main contributors to these imports. Even though India’s arms imports have decreased by 21 per cent between 2012-16 and 2017-21, it still remains as the largest importer globally.

India is in the process of planning large-scale arms imports in the next few years from several suppliers. "Tensions between China and many states in Asia and Ocenia are the main driver of arms imports in the region,’’ said Siemon T Wezemen, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.

These tensions are also a major factor in the US arms transfer to the region. "`The US remains the largest supplier to Asia and Ocenial as arms exports are an important element of US foreign policy aimed at China,’’ Wezeman added.

Asia and Oceania are the largest importing region for major arms, receiving 43 per cent of global transfers in 2017-21 and the six countries in the region (who happen to be the largest importers globally) are India, Australia, China, South Korea, Pakistan and Japan.

"Transfers to the region overall fell slights (-4.7 per cent), but there was wide variation amongst different sub-regions,’’ according to SIPRI. As for exports, the US remained the world’s biggest weapons supplier accounting for 39 per cent of the total.

The country’s exports rose to 14 per cent. Russia is the second-largest exporter, but their trade has fallen by 26 per cent.  "The rise in US exports was mainly owing to increased transactions with Saudi Arabia, Australia, South Korea and Japan. US’s exports to Japan have increased 2.7 times,’’ says the report.

The US, Russia, France, China and Germany accounted for more than three-fourths of the world's exports.
Even though arms imports to South Asia, fell by 21 per cent and those to South East Asia fell by 24 per cent between 2012-16 and 2017-21.

During the same period, arms imports to Oceania grew by 59 per cent, primarily due to a 62 per cent increase in Australia’s imports and imports to East Asia rose by 20 per cent.

"The small decrease in global arms transfers masks large variations between regional trends,’’ said  Wezeman.

Interestingly, South American arms imports reached their lowest level in 50 years. Meanwhile, the largest arms importers in Europe are the UK, Norway, and the Netherlands.

Other European states are also expected to increase their arms imports significantly over the coming decade, having recently placed large orders for major arms, in particular combat aircraft from the US.

Despite the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine throughout 2017–21, the country’s imports of major arms in the period were very limited.

"The severe deterioration in relations between most European states and Russia was an important driver of growth in European arms imports, especially for states that cannot meet all their requirements through their national arms industries,’’ said  Wezeman.

India Matters


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