India Registers 33% Fall In Its Arms Import: SIPRI

by Shatakshi Gupta

In terms of arms import, a silver lining can be seen for India. Once the world’s largest arms importer is trying to become self-sufficient in the matter of modern weapons. India has reduced arms import from abroad by 33 per cent in the last 5 years. That too when India’s tensions with China are at their peak in eastern Ladakh. According to the latest report by SIPRI, an arms trade watchdog, Russia currently sells the largest number of weapons to India but has received a major setback from India. India is now giving more preference to the purchase of arms from Israel and France.

According to SIPRI, India remains the second-largest arms importer in the world after Saudi Arabia. India is followed by Egypt, Australia and China. Between 2011-2015 and 2016-2020, India’s imports of arms from abroad have fallen by 33 per cent. In the last 5 years, India has bought the most weapons from Russia, but this import of weapons has come down by about 53%. India is now buying only 49 per cent of weapons from Russia, instead of the earlier 70 per cent.

The US ranks fourth-largest exporter to India

India has reduced imports from the US. The United States was India’s second-largest exporter of arms between 2011-2015, but in the year 2016-2020, the US has moved up to the fourth position. India has reduced arms imports from the US by 46 per cent. Between 2016 and 2020, Israel and France were the second and third largest arms suppliers respectively.

Also read: Budget 2021-22: Budgetary Push To Defence Sector Of India

Between 2016 and 2020, India’s arms imports from France increased by 709 per cent, while India’s arms imports with Israel increased by 82 percent.  During the same period, India signed the Rafael deal, which has led to such an increase in the import of arms from France. The purchase of Rafael aircraft and the missiles in it is half of India’s total imports.  However, India’s total arms imports declined during this period.

SIPRI said that the reason for this shortfall is India’s complex procurement process and diversification in purchase other than Russia.

India may increase its import due to threat from China-Pakistan

SIPRI has predicted that India may have significantly reduced arms imports in the last 10 years, but in the coming 5 years, India plans to purchase large-scale weapons.  This includes fighter aircraft, Air-Defence systems, Warships and Submarines.  With this, India’s imports can increase significantly. The report states that many countries in Asia consider China a threat to themselves, therefore purchasing weapons on a large scale.

Pakistan’s arms imports fell by 23 per cent

Pakistan imports 61% of its arms from China. Pakistan is procuring large-scale weapons which it will get by the year 2028. Pakistan is purchasing 50 fighter jets, 8 submarines and 4 frigates from China and 4 frigates from Turkey.