India remains the world’s top arms importer

New Delhi, Mar 13 (EFE).- India continues to be the world’s top arms importer even as the imports declined by 11 percent in the last decade, a global arms sales watchdog said on Monday.

The decline in the arms imports to India was linked to “a complex procurement process, efforts to diversify arms suppliers and attempts to replace imports with local designs,” said the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).

Imports by India’s arch-rival Pakistan, the world’s eighth largest arms importer in the last five years, increased by 14 percent, with China as its main supplier, Sipri noted.

Russia continued to be the largest arms supplier to India from 2013-22, but its share of total imports to India fell from 64 percent to 45 percent.

France emerged as India’s second-largest arms supplier between 2018-22.

Sipri said that Imports of major arms by European states increased by 47 percent between 2013–17 and 2018–22, while the global level of international arms transfers decreased by 5.1 percent.

The share of the United States of global arms exports increased from 33 to 40 percent while Russia’s fell from 22 to 16 percent, according to the Sipri report.

Global arms exports have long been dominated by the US and Russia (consistently the largest and second-largest arms exporters for the past three decades).

However, the gap between the two has been widening significantly, while that between Russia and the third largest supplier, France, has narrowed.

US arms exports increased by 14 percent between 2013–17 and 2018–22.

The US accounted for 40 percent of global arms exports in 2018–22.

Russia’s arms exports fell by 31 percent between 2013–17 and 2018–22, and its share of global arms exports decreased from 22 percent to 16 percent.

France’s share increased from 7.1 percent to 11 percent.

“It is likely that the invasion of Ukraine will further limit Russia’s arms exports,” said Siemon T. Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the Sipri Arms Transfers Programme.

Wezeman said it was because Russia would prioritize supplying its armed forces and demand from other states would remain low due to trade sanctions on Russia and increasing pressure from the US and its allies not to buy Russian arms.

On the other hand, France’s arms exports increased by 44 percent between 2013–17 and 2018–22.

Most of these exports were to countries in Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East.

India received 30 percent of France’s arms exports in 2018–22, and France displaced the US as the second largest supplier of arms to India after Russia.

“France is gaining a bigger share of the global arms market as Russian arms exports decline, as seen in India, for example,” said Wezeman.

“This seems likely to continue, as by the end of 2022, France had far more outstanding orders for arms exports than Russia.” EFE

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