US overtakes Russia as India’s largest arms supplier

Chuck HagelThe United States has surpassed Russia and Israel to emerge as the largest arms supplier to India in the last three years.

India’s Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said on August 12 that India, the world largest arms importers, bought equipment worth Rs 32,615 crores ($ 5.2 billion) from the US, approximately 40 percent of India’s total defence imports.

The US was followed closely by Russia at 30 percent, France at 14 percent, and Israel with 4 percent share of India’s weapon imports.

The US has exported arms worth around $10 billion to India since 2007-2008. India and the US are expected to finalise two deals, worth over $2.5 billion, for 22 Apache attack helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers.

While Russia has dropped to the second position it has been a steady supplier of weapons over the years, and has landed deals worth over 3 billion USD.

Israel, once an important source of arms imports to India, has lost ground in recent years, largely due to the ban of IMI, an Israeli weapons manufacturer, and cancellation of key contracts on account of  corruption allegations against some of its firms.

While the US has emerged as India’s major source of arms imports, the new government in Delhi has expressed its commitment to develop its domestic defence industry. For this New Delhi has looked towards Moscow and Washington to aid in technology transfer and co-development of weapons.

During his three-day visit to India in August, US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel commented that India and US should “transform our defense industrial cooperation from simply buying and selling to co-production, co-development and freer exchange of technology.”

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