New Delhi: India continues to be world’s largest importer for major firearms, an indication that Modi government’s make in India drive for defence sector has failed according to a report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
The flow of arms increased to Asia and Oceania and the Middle East between 2008–12 and 2013–17, while there was a decrease in the flow to Africa, the Americas and Europe. The five biggest exporters—the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China—together accounted for 74 percent of all arms exports in 2013–17.
South Asia: Regional tensions drive India’s growing arms imports
India was the world’s largest importer of major arms in 2013–17 and accounted for 12 per cent of the global total. Its imports increased by 24 per cent between 2008–12 and 2013–17. Russia accounted for 62 per cent of India’s arms imports in 2013–17. However, arms imports from the USA rose by 557 percent between 2008–12 and 2013–17, making it India’s second largest arms supplier. Despite its continuing tensions with India and ongoing internal conflicts, Pakistan’s arms imports decreased by 36 percent between 2008–12 and 2013–17. Pakistan accounted for 2.8 percent of global arms imports in 2013–17. Its arms imports from the USA dropped by 76 percent in 2013–17 compared with 2008–12.
‘The tensions between India, on the one side, and Pakistan and China, on the other, are fuelling India’s growing demand for major weapons, which it remains unable to produce itself,’ said Siemon Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme. ‘China, by contrast, is becoming increasingly capable of producing its own weapons and continues to strengthen its relations with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar through arms supplies.’
China’s arms imports fell by 19 percent between 2008–12 and 2013–17. Despite this decrease, it was the world’s fifth largest arms importer in 2013–17.
The Middle East: Arms imports have doubled over the past 10 years
Most states in the Middle East were directly involved in violent conflict in 2013–17. Arms imports by states in the region increased by 103 percent between 2008–12 and 2013–17, and accounted for 32 percent of global arms imports in 2013–17.
‘Widespread violent conflict in the Middle East and concerns about human rights have led to political debate in Western Europe and North America about restricting arms sales,’ said Pieter Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme. ‘Yet the USA and European states remain the main arms exporters to the region and supplied over 98 percent of weapons imported by Saudi Arabia.’
The USA leads the race
In 2013–17 the USA accounted for 34 percent of total arms exports. Its arms exports increased by 25 percent between 2008–12 and 2013–17. US arms exports in 2013–17 were 58 percent higher than those of Russia—the second largest arms exporter in that period. The USA supplied major arms to 98 states in 2013–17. Exports to states in the Middle East accounted for 49 percent of total US arms exports in that period.
Arms exports by Russia decreased by 7.1 percent between 2008–12 and 2013–17. France increased its arms exports by 27 per cent between the two periods and was the third largest arms exporter in 2013–17. Arms exports by Germany—the fourth largest exporter in 2013–17—fell by 14 percent between 2008–12 and 2013–17. However, German arms exports to the Middle East increased by 109 percent.