By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 14, Mar 2023, 19:31 pm IST | UPDATED: 14, Mar 2023, 19:31 pm IST
New Delhi: India has remained the world's top importer of arms for the past five years despite having two adversarial neighbours in China and Pakistan. According to new data published by the Swedish-based Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, India was the greatest arms importer between 2018 and 2022, accounting for 11% of all imports (SIPRI). Moreover, Russia, France and Israel were the main exporters of weapons and allied equipment to India, the annual report of the prestigious Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said on Monday. The second biggest importer is Saudi Arabia.
India is still the world's largest importer of military equipment, despite an 11% decline in arms purchases between 2013–17 and 2018–22. The SIPRI report is released at a time when India has intensified its efforts to become self-reliant in the defence manufacturing sector. According to data from the think tank that tracks weapons imports over five-year periods, India's percentage of the world's imports was the greatest in the past five years at 11%, followed by Saudi Arabia (9.6%), Qatar (6.4%), Australia (4.7%), and China (4.7%)
Around ?1 lakh crore was set aside for domestic procurement in this year’s defence budget, compared to ?84,598 crore, ?70,221 crore and ?51,000 crore in the three previous years.
Throughout the time periods 2013–2017 and 2018–2022, Russia was India's top supplier of weapons, although its proportion of the country's overall weapon imports dropped from 64% to 45%. "Russia's position as India's principal arms supplier is under pressure due to strong competition from other supplier states, increased Indian arms production, and, since 2022, the restrictions on Russia's arms shipments associated to its invasion of Ukraine," SIPRI stated.
India has been the world's top importer of arms since 1993, according to SIPRI data. This highlights both India's ongoing inability to develop a robust defense-industrial base with significantly more private sector involvement and the subpar performance of the DRDO, defence PSUs, and ordnance factories over the years.
The top 10 arms exporters, in turn, are the US (40%), Russia (16%), France (11%), China (5.2%), Germany (4.2%), Italy (3.8%), UK (3.2%), Spain (2.6%), South Korea (2.4%) and Israel (2.3%). China, incidentally, accounts for 77% of the arms supplies to Pakistan. India is followed by Saudi Arabia (9.6%), Qatar (6.4%), Australia (4.7%), China (4.6%), Egypt (4.5%), South Korea (3.7%) and Pakistan (3.7%) among the top 10 arms importers.
“The decrease can be attributed to several factors including India’s slow and complex arms procurement process, efforts to diversify its arms suppliers, and attempts to replace imports with major arms that are designed and produced domestically,” the report noted.
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