India is still biggest arms importer: study


India has held onto its reputation as the world’s largest importer of weapons and military equipment, accounting for 15 per cent of global imports, with Russia being its majority supplier, the Press Trust of India cited the Stockholm-based think-tank as saying on Monday.

The volume of India’s multi-billion dollar arms trade rose 140 per cent during the period 2010 to 2014 over the previous five years, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) added in its annual report.

In 2010–14, India’s imports were three times larger than those of either of the regional powers China and Pakistan. This is in contrast with the 2005–2009 period when India’s imports were 23 per cent below China’s and just over double of those of Pakistan.

Of the top 10 largest importers of major weapons during the five-year period (2010–14), five are in Asia – India (15 per cent of global arms imports), China (5 per cent), Pakistan (4 per cent), South Korea (3 per cent) and Singapore (3 per cent), according to the report, titled ‘Trends in International Arms Transfers’.

These five countries accounted for 30 per cent of the total volume of arms imports worldwide. India accounted for 34 per cent of the volume of arms imported to Asia, more than three times as much as China.

China’s arms imports actually decreased by 42 per cent between 2005–2009 and 2010–14.

In 2010–14, Russia supplied 70 per cent of India’s arms imports, the US 12 per cent and Israel 7 per cent. The acquisitions from the US are a break with the recent past.

Prior to 2005–2009, India barely received any major weapons from the US.