Conflict & Justice

India leads Asian countries as largest weapons importer


India’s spending on imported weapons was responsible for the 24 percent growth in the global arms trade industry, according to a report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute on March 19, 2012.



According to the latest report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Asian countries topped the list of the world’s largest arms importers from 2007 to 2011, said Al Jazeera.

The figures, released Monday, show that India (ten percent), South Korea (six percent), Pakistan (five percent), China (five percent) and Singapore (four percent) were the largest buyers of arms during the period in question, and the largest arms suppliers were the United States, Russia, Germany, France and the UK.

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The BBC said India’s spending on imported weapons was responsible for the 24 percent growth in the global arms trade industry. In an effort to modernize its armed forces, India increased its weapons imports by 38 percent, between the 2002-2006 period and the 2007-2011 period.

India’s share of the weapons market is only set to increase, as the government budget for 2012-2013 allotted 17 percent more on defense spending, said the BBC.

The report said that “notable” deliveries of combat aircrafts included “120 Su-30MKs and 16 MiG-29Ks from Russia and 20 Jaguar Ss from the United Kingdom,” according to the AFP.

Manoj Joshi, a security expert and journalist in Delhi, told the Guardian that, "There is a huge backlog and India is not so much racing as running as hard as she can to stay still. Modernizing the armed forces here is like running up an escalator."

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Bloomberg attributed China’s drop in the largest importers list to the fact that China now produces more arms domestically and has become a major exporter.

“In certain sectors such as combat aircraft, with the exception of certain parts like engines, China is able to put together these systems largely from their own indigenous base now,” Paul Holtom, the director of SIPRI’s arms transfer program, told Bloomberg. “India is still struggling there.”

The report noted that a majority of China’s exports went to Pakistan. “China has not yet achieved a major breakthrough in any other significant market,” it said, according to the AFP.

The Asia-Pacific region led the world in arms imports at 44 percent of the share, with Europe at 19 percent, the Middle East at 17 percent, the Americas at 11 percent and Africa at 9 percent.

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