March 19th, 2012
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India world’s largest importer of weapons

India worlds largest importer of weapons

New Delhi: The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in its most current report states that India has emerged as the champion overtaking the dragon in weapon imports. India that accounts for 10 per cent of global arms sales volume has become the world’s biggest importer of arms. According to the Swedish think tank India’s imports of major weapons has increased by 38 per cent in 2007-11. India’s major recent deals as 126 fighter jets and notable deliveries of other combat aircrafts, including 120 Su-30MKs and 16 MIG-29Ks from Russia and 20 Jaguars from UK. India is likely to spend more than USD 100 billion on weapons and systems in the next 15 years.

India is the world’s largest recipient of arms while South Korea (6 percent of arms transfers) is second and Pakistan and China are third in the list, reveals data on international arms transfers. China and Pakistan weapons import constituted 5 per cent each of global sales. Singapore that accounts for 4 percent is the fourth in the list.

China’s drop to fourth place is attributed to improvements in the country’s arms industry and its rising arms exports. China is now world’s sixth largest world exporter of weapons behind the US, Russia, Germany, France and UK. “The volume of China’s arms export is increasing; this is largely a result of Pakistan importing more arms from China. Beijing has not achieved a major breakthrough in any other significant market,” the report said.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his budget of 2012 has increased the military spending by 17 per cent, ie: from Rs 28,992 crore, to Rs 1,93,407. India is on the verge of signing a $20-billion contract for 126 Rafale medium multirole combat aircraft, apart from a $600-million deal for 75 Pilatus PC-7 basic trainer for Air Force. However, the outlays indicate that the final go-ahead for this expenditure might be rolled over to the next financial year.

The Air Force, which is buying the Rafale, was allotted Rs 22,000 crore in 2011-12; the revised estimates shows it has spent just about Rs 18,000 crore. The outlay for 2012-13 is Rs 23,000 crore. Several artillery purchases for the army are also due. India proposes to buy 145 ultra-light Howitzers from the US under a government-to-government sale.

The data revealed that Asia and Oceania accounted for a whopping 44 percent of global arms imports, followed by Europe 19 percent, the Middle East 17 percent, the Americas 11 percent. Africa was the lowest with 9 percent.

Throughout the Middle East as a whole, weapons imports decreased by eight percent over the period of the survey. However SIPRI warned “this trend will soon be reversed.” “During 2011, the governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Syria used imported weapons in the suppression of peaceful demonstrations among other alleged violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. The transfer of arms to states affected by the Arab Spring has provoked public and parliamentary debate in a number of supplier states,” the report said.


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