It is a known fact that India is the world’s largest importer of major weapons between 2013 and 2017, with imports increasing by 24% over the last 10 years. Pakistan and China’s arms imports have reduced in the same period. India’s arms imports accounted for 12% of the arms transfers in the world.
These are the findings of latest annual study by the global watchdog on arms sales, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is an international institute based in Sweden, dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.
SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. Established in 1966, SIPRI provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public. Based in Stockholm, SIPRI also has a presence in Beijing, and is regularly ranked among the most respected think tanks worldwide.
SIPRI’s financial support is primarily drawn from governments and independent philanthropic organisations around the world. SIPRI also receives annual support from the Swedish government in the form of a core grant approved by the Swedish parliament.
As per the study, “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.”
It also added that “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.”
The Game of Arms
According to the report, India’s arms imports rose to 24% over the last 10 years. Russia remained India’s largest supplier of arms in 2013-2017. Russian arms were 62% of India’s imports. But imports from the US increased by a whopping 557% between 2008-12 and 2013-17. The US is now India’s second largest arms supplier.
Comparing with Pakistan and China, Pakistan’s arms imports decreased by 36% between 2008-12 and 2013-17. China’s arms imports fell by 19% between 2008-12 and 2013-17, yet it was the fifth largest arms importer in 2013-17.
According to the report, India has emerged as fifth largest military spender in 2017. India had spent $63.9 billion on defence in 2017, an increase of 5.5% compared with 2016, when it was in the sixth spot overall.
The world’s five biggest military spenders in 2017 are United States ($610 billion), China ($228 billion), Saudi Arabia ($69.4 billion), Russia ($66.3 billion) and India ($63.9 billion). They together accounted for 60% of global military spending. The total global military expenditure in 2017 rose to $1,739 billion, a marginal increase of 1.1% in real terms from 2016. It accounted for 2.2% of global gross domestic product in 2017.
India’s spending was higher than that of France ($57.8 billion), UK ($47.2 billion) and Germany ($44.3 billion) in 2017. It has grown in past decade for several reasons, including mounting salary bill for about 1.4 million serving personnel and pensions for more than 2 million veterans, projects worth billions of dollars to induct new warships, combat fighter jets, helicopters, artillery guns and infantry weapons and to enhance capabilities. India has been world’s largest weapons importer in last five years and arms exported by US to India during 2013-17 registered a 557% jump when compared to 2008-12.
India is now the fifth largest military spender in 2017. India had spent $63.9 billion on defence in 2017, an increase of 5.5% compared with 2016, when it was in the sixth spot overall.