18/3/2015 297 Security Issues | Defence | View Recent Current Affairs

India has yet again emerged as the world’s largest buyer of weapons and military equipment, accounting for some 15% of all such international imports. Russia, despite losing monopoly over the Indian defence market, continues to hold a dominant position as the largest supplier for New Delhi. These trends have emerged from a report released by Sweden-based think-tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The assessment was done for a five-year period (2010-2014). Titled ‘Trends in international arms transfers’, it says India’s share in global imports increased by 140% in previous 2005–2009 period, indicating that New Delhi’s attempts to be self-reliant were not enough as sophisticated planes, warships and radars were being procured from outside. In the period 2010–14, which is the basis of the latest report, Russia supplied 70% of India’s arms imports, the USA 12% and Israel 7%. 

Top 5 Global Importers:

  1. India-15%
  2. Saudi Arabia-5%
  3. China-5%
  4. The United Arab Emirates (UAE)-4%
  5. Pakistan-4%

Top 5 Global Exporters:

  1. USA-31%
  2. Russia-27%
  3. China-5%
  4. Germany-5%
  5. France-5%

The Chinese Threat

  • China is now the third largest exporter of weapons ahead of traditional manufacturers Germany, France and UK. Its biggest benefactors are Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma — all having a shared boundary with India and could potentially cause trouble for New Delhi. The three countries accounted for 68% of Beijing’s exports.
  • India sees China’s exports to countries around India as a part of its long-term strategy of having a ‘string of pearls’ — a kind of military toe-hold in countries around India. Chinese exports of major arms increased by 143% between 2005–2009 and during 2010-14. Its share of global arms exports increased from 3% to 5%, the report said.

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