India retains top position as world’s largest arms importer

Arms import

Retaining its position as the world’s leading arms importer, India is looking to upgrade and modernize its weaponry in view of growing threat perceptions from a volatile neighbourhood.   The US and Russia continue to be the largest suppliers with more than half of global weaponry being supplied by the two countries, a Sweden-based research institute said in a report.

India’s imports of weaponry have been steadily going up in recent years. Between 2011 and 2015, India’s imports stood at 14 per cent of the world’s total, and nearly twice that of Saudi Arabia’s, which is the second largest importer, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in its report.

With plenty of animosity in South Asia, India and Pakistan have been strengthening their nuclear arsenal with both countries estimated to have more than 100 warheads each.

China,  United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Australia were among the five largest arms importers. According to the report, it estimated that the volume of arms transfers increased worldwide in the 2011-2015 period by 14 per cent compared to 2006-2010. The institute  claims to use a five-year cycle to even out fluctuations caused by a big order during any specific year. The institute further stated in report that arms transfers database does not include small arms and is based on public sources ranging from national and regional newspapers to specialized international journals, as well as government and industry reports.

Fifty eight countries export arms, which are led by the US and Russia. The two military powers together supplied more than half the world’s arms between 2011 and 2015. The US dominated the global arms export markets with 33 per cent of global exports and sold arms to 96 countries. This is much more than any other major supplier, the report highlighted. Apart from India, the other main  markets for the US include Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Turkey.

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