Eastern Eye (UK)

India stays world’s top arms importer as France becomes second-largest supplier


INDIA remained the world’s top arms importer, but its imports declined by 11 per cent between 2013-17 and 2018-22, according to a report released on Monday (13) by Stockholm-based defence think-tank SIPRI.

India, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Australia and China were the five largest arms importers in the world during 20182022, the Stockholm Internatio­nal Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said. The United States, Russia, France, China and Germany were the five largest global arms exporters.

India’s decline in imports was linked to a complex procuremen­t process, efforts to diversify arms suppliers and attempts to replace imports with local designs, the report said.

Imports by Pakistan, the world’s eighthlarg­est arms importer, during 2018-22, increased by 14 per cent, with China as its main supplier, the report said.

France’s arms exports rose by 44 per cent between 2013-17 and 2018-22 and most were to countries in Asia and Oceania and the Middle East.

New Delhi received 30 per cent of France’s arms exports during 2018-22, as the country 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 Pieter D Wezeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme. “This seems likely to continue as by the end of 2022, France had far more outstandin­g orders for arms exports than Russia.”

The report compared two five-year periods and noted that Russian arms supplies to India were declining. It said the US’s share of global arms exports increased from 33 to 40 per cent, while Russia’s fell from 22 to 16 per cent.

“Even as arms transfers have declined globally, those to Europe have risen sharply due to the tensions between Russia and most other European states,” said Wezeman. “Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, European states want to import more arms, faster. Strategic competitio­n also continues elsewhere: arms imports to east Asia have increased and those to the Middle East remain at a high level.”

Three of the top 10 importers during 2018-22 were in the Middle East – Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt – according to the report.

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