India is world's largest arms importer

Nearly half of US arms exports go to the Middle East

Continuing the upward trend that began in the early 2000s, the volume of global transfers of major weapons in 2013-17 was 10 per cent higher than in 2008-12, according to new data on arms transfers published today by the Stockholm worldwide Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The report spotlights India's floundering attempts to make firearms in India.

"India was the world's largest importer of major arms in 2013-17 and accounted for 12% of the global total".

Last year, the government even scrapped the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) that scrutinized foreign investment proposals in its desperate attempt to cut red tape and facilitate ease of doing business.

India, on the other hand, is nowhere on the list of arms exporting nations.

The world's arms sales in 2013-2017 increased by 10% compared to 2008-2012.

According to Siemon Wezeman, a senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme, the tension in recent past with both Pakistan and China have led to the increase in growing demands of weapon, which India does not produce itself.

"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", said Wezeman.

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Surprisingly, India's long-time foe has slashed its imports despite its tensions with India and internal conflicts. "As relations between the two countries deteriorated in 2013-17 (due to USA perceptions that Pakistan was not fully committed to combating the Taliban), the United States reduced its military aid, and U.S. arms exports to Pakistan fell by 76 per cent compared with 2008-12", the report says.

Beijing, whose weapons exports rose by 38 percent in the five-year period, is the main arms supplier for Myanmar, accounting for 68 percent of imports. "Its arms imports from the United States of America dropped by 76 per cent in 2013-17 compared with 2008-12".

The data records actual arms deliveries, orders for which may have been placed in the past.

But who is the second largest importer of weapons after India? Five countries - India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and China - receive just over a third of global arms supplies.

However, the rise in arms import from the USA has been significant during the 2013-17 period. Of Egypt's arms imports across this period, 37 percent came from France, 26 percent from the US and 21 percent from Russian Federation, according to data from SIPRI.

Over the past five years, France has been the most successful country in forging a close relationship with Egypt in the arms industry. India's arms imports from the U.S. saw a more than six-fold jump. Arms exports by Germany-the fourth largest exporter in 2013-17-fell by 14 per cent between 2008-12 and 2013-17.

The SIPRI report notes deteriorating ties between the U.S. and Pakistan, stemming from the perception that Islamabad is not doing enough to combat terrorism in Afghanistan. China was the fifth largest arms exporter, with Pakistan the main recipient of its arms.

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