India remains world’s largest arms importer, with 14% of total share

India remains world’s largest arms importer, with 14% of total share

India has yet again emerged as the world’s largest importer of arms, with Russia being the top supplier garnering 70% of the Indian market, a Stockholm-based think-tank said on Monday.

India’s imports, accounting for 14% of global arms imports, were three times greater than those of China and Pakistan, it said. Interestingly, six of the top 10 largest arms importers in the period 2011-15 are in Asia and Oceania.

India tops the list with 14% of global arms imports. China ranks second with 4.7%, Australia (3.6 %), Pakistan (3.3%), Vietnam (2.9%) and South Korea (2.6%). “A major reason for the high level of imports is that India’s arms industry has so far largely failed to produce competitive indigenously-designed weapons,” it claimed.

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The emergence of the US as a major supplier to India is a recent development. The US imports are also growing. They were 11 times higher in 2011 15 than in 2006 10, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a report.

India was the largest importer of major arms in 2011-15, accounting for 14% of the global total, the report titled ‘Trends in International Arms Transfers’ said. Between 2006 10 and 2011 15 imports increased by 90%.

India was the world’s largest importer of weapons and military equipment in 2013, 2014 and 2015. In 2015 India’s imports were three times greater than those of either of its regional rivals: China and Pakistan.

However, based on existing orders and weapons, Russia will remain, by a significant distance, the main supplier of major arms to India for the foreseeable future. Talking about China, the report said the country is increasingly capable of producing its own advanced weapons and has become less dependent on arms imports, which decreased by 25 % between 2006 10 and 2011 15.

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While in the early-2000s China was by far the largest importer, it dropped to third place in 2011 15. However, China remains partly dependent on imports for some key weapons and components, including large transport aircraft and helicopters, and engines for aircraft, vehicles and ships.

Engines accounted for 30% of China’s imports in 2011-15. China’s largest supplier was Russia, which accounted for 59 % of Chinese imports, followed by France with 15 % and Ukraine with 14 %.

Arms imports by states in Asia and Oceania increased by 26 % between 2006 10 and 2011 15, with states in the region receiving 46 % of global imports in 2011 15.

Vietnam’s arms imports rose by 699 %, it said.