India remains world’s largest arms importer

News Excerpt:

Despite ongoing efforts to strengthen its defense-industrial base, India retains its position as the world's largest arms importer, a study from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has found. 

About the Report:

  • Swedish think tank, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has released Trends in International Arms Transfers, 2023.
  • The report provides an overview of the global arms market, including insights into major arms suppliers and purchasers, regional distribution, and shifts in the trade dynamics.

Key Findings of the report:

  • The five largest arms importers in the world during 2018-22 were India, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Australia and China.
  • Nine of the 10 biggest arms importers in 2019–23, including the top 3 of India, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, were in Asia and Oceania or the Middle East
  • Despite Russia remaining India’s primary arms supplier, constituting 36% of its arms imports, this marks the first five-year period since 1960–64 where deliveries from Russia/USSR fell below half of India’s arms imports.
  • Arms imports by European countries increased by 94% between 2014–18 and 2019–23.
    • Ukraine became the fourth biggest arms importer globally after it received transfers of major arms from over 30 states in 2022-23.
  • Pakistan, ranked fifth in arms imports during 2019–23, saw a significant 43% increase in imports.
    • China supplied a substantial 82% of all arms imports to Pakistan during this period.
  • The five biggest arms exporters worldwide were the United States, France, Russia, China and Germany. 
    • France overtook Russia to claim the No. 2 spot.
    • Russia’s exports fell by 53%, French sales surged 47%.
      • The largest single recipient of French arms exports was India. 
    • In 2019, 31 countries were still receiving weapons from Russia, by 2023, that had dropped to 12, with India and China, being by far the most significant customers.
  • The USA has increased its global role as an arms supplier, exporting more arms to more countries than it has ever done in the past. 
    • This comes at a time when the USA’s economic and geopolitical dominance is being challenged by emerging powers.

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI):

  • SIPRI was founded in 1966 and is a Stockholm based think tank.
  • It is an international institute focused on conflict, armaments, arms control, and disarmament research.
  • SIPRI supplies data, analysis, and recommendations derived from open sources to policymakers, researchers, media, and the general public.
  • SIPRI was founded through a resolution by the Swedish Parliament and obtains a significant portion of its funding through an annual grant from the Swedish Government.

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