India turns world's largest arms importer

March 15, 2011 - 0:0

India has emerged as the world's largest arms importer overtaking China which shared the second spot with South Korea followed by Pakistan, according to a report by a Swedish think-tank.

""India is the world's largest arms importer,"" according to new data on international arms transfers published on Monday by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
""India received 9 percent of the volume of international arms transfers during 2006-10, with Russian deliveries accounting for 82 percent of Indian arms imports,"" it said in a comprehensive annual update of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Database.
The four largest importers of conventional weapons in 2006-10 are located in Asia, the report said. India last topped the list in 1992.
The share of the four countries are--India (9 percent), China (6 percent), South Korea (6 percent) and Pakistan (5 percent). These states have imported, and will continue to take delivery of, a range of major conventional weapons, in particular combat aircraft and naval systems, the report said.
India's arms import delivery volumes jumped 21 percent from the prior five-year period, with aircraft accounting for 71 percent of it imports. In the case of Pakistan, the report said the volume of imports rose 128 percent.
The report said India is expected to keep the top spot for the foreseeable future.
""Just from what they have already ordered, we know that in the coming few years India will be the top importer,"" said Siemon Wezeman of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Program.
Wezeman said Indian imports of major conventional weapons are driven by a range of factors. ""The most often cited relate to rivalries with Pakistan and China as well as internal security challenges,"" he said.
""As an importer, India is demanding offsets and transfers of technology to boost its own arms industry, and, in order to secure orders, major suppliers are agreeing to such demands,"" he noted.
India has unveiled plans to buy 126 fighter jets, 200 helicopters and large amphibious landing ships. A proposal to acquire a submarine is also in the pipeline.
India's defense budget for 2011-12 has been fixed at Rs. 1.5 trillion, a 40 percent increase from two years before. It imports roughly 70 percent of its arms.
China dropped to second place as it continued to build up its domestic arms industry, something India has so far failed to do so. Wezeman said.
The average volume of worldwide arms transfers in 2006-10 was 24 percent higher than in 2001¿2005. The major recipient region in 2006-10 remained Asia and Oceania (43 percent of all imports), followed by Europe (21 percent), the Middle East (17 percent), the Americas (12 percent) and Africa (7 percent).