India’s arms imports have decreased by 33 per cent between 2011-15 and 2016-20, a report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said.
The report stated that because of decrease in import, Russia was the most affected supplier, although India’s imports of US arms also fell, by 46 per cent.
Russia was the largest arms supplier to India in both 2011-15 and 2016-20. However, Russia’s deliveries dropped by 53 per cent between the two periods and its share of total Indian arms imports fell from 70 to 49 per cent.
In 2011-15, the US was the second largest arms supplier to India, but in 2016-20 India’s arms imports from the US were 46 per cent lower than in the previous five-year period, making the US the fourth largest supplier to India in 2016-20.
France and Israel were the second and third largest arms suppliers to India in 2016-20.
India’s arms imports from France increased by 709 per cent while those from Israel rose by 82 per cent.
Combat aircraft and associated missiles made up for more than 50 per cent of India’s arms imports in 2016-20.
“The drop in India’s arms imports seems to have been mainly due to its complex procurement processes, combined with an attempt to reduce its dependence on Russian arms,” said the report adding that India is planning large-scale arms imports in the coming years from several suppliers.
As India perceives increasing threats from Pakistan and China and as its ambitious plans to produce its own major arms have been significantly delayed, it is planning large-scale programmes for arms imports.
Based on its outstanding deliveries of combat aircraft, air defence systems, ships and submarines, India’s arms imports are expected to increase over the coming five years.
The report stated that Russia and China both saw their arms exports fall.
Arms exports by Russia, which accounted for 20 per cent of all exports of major arms in 2016-20, dropped by 22 per cent — to roughly the same level as in 2006-10.
The bulk “around 90 per cent” of this decrease was attributable to a 53 per cent fall in its arms exports to India.
“Russia substantially increased its arms transfers to China, Algeria and Egypt between 2011-15 and 2016-20, but this did not offset the large drop in its arms exports to India,” said Alexandra Kuimova, Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme.
“Although Russia has recently signed new large arms deals with several states and its exports will probably gradually increase again in the coming years, it faces strong competition from the US in most regions.”
Exports by China, the world’s fifth largest arms exporter in 2016-20, decreased by 7.8 per cent between 2011-15 and 2016-20.
Chinese arms exports accounted for 5.2 per cent of total arms exports in 2016-20. Pakistan, Bangladesh and Algeria were the largest recipients of Chinese arms.
(Sumit Kumar Singh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)