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India’s Arms Imports Fall 33% Between 2011-15 and 2016-20: SIPRI Report


India’s arms imports fell 33 per cent between 2011-15 and 2016-20, according to a report of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).

The drop in India’s arms imports was attributed mainly to an attempt to reduce its dependence on Russian arms and complex procurement processes. “Russia was the most affected supplier, although India’s imports of US arms also fell by 46%,” the report said. It further said India is planning large-scale arms imports in the coming years from several suppliers.

Arms exports by Russia, which accounted for 20% of all exports of major arms in 2016–20, dropped by 22%, the report said. “The bulk — around 90% — of this decrease was attributable to a 53% fall in its arms exports to India,” it said.

The report released on Monday further said international deliveries were flat in the period 2016-2020, ending more than a decade of increases.

The United States, France and Germany – three of the world’s biggest exporters – increased deliveries, but falls in exports from Russian and China offset the rise, SIPRI said.

It was the first time since 2001–2005 that the volume of deliveries of major arms between countries – an indicator of demand – did not increase from the previous five year period, SIPRI said.

While the pandemic has shut down economies across the world and pushed many countries into deep recessions, SIPRI said it was too early to tell whether the slowdown in arms deliveries was likely to continue. “The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could see some countries reassessing their arms imports in the coming years,” Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme, said in a statement.

“However, at the same time, even at the height of the pandemic in 2020, several countries signed large contracts for major arms.”

The United Arab Emirates, for example, recently signed an agreement with the United States to purchase 50 F-35 jets and up to 18 armed drones as part of a $23 billion package.

Middle Eastern countries accounted for the biggest increase in arms imports, up 25% in 2016–20 from 2011–15.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest arms importer, increased its arms imports by 61% and Qatar by 361%.

Asia and Oceania were the largest importing regions for major arms, receiving 42% of global arms transfers in 2016–20. India, Australia, China, South Korea and Pakistan were the biggest importers in the region.

“For many states in Asia and Oceania, a growing perception of China as a threat is the main driver for arms imports,” said Siemon Wezeman, Senior Researcher at SIPRI, said.

(With inputs from Reuters)



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