Updated: March 16, 2021 3:06:44 am
At a time when the government is trying to reduce the import dependence when it comes to defence platforms and weapons, a report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), an international organisation that tracks arms trade, has mentioned that India’s arms imports came down by a third between 2011-2015 and 2016-2020.
However, India remains the second highest importer, only behind Saudi Arabia. The top five global arms exporters were the US, Russia, France, Germany and China in 2016-2020.
In its study released on Monday, SIPRI stated, “Arms imports by India decreased by 33 per cent between 2011–15 and 2016–20. Russia was the most affected supplier, although India’s imports of US arms also fell, by 46 per cent.”
The report attributed the fall not to the government’s push to make India self-reliant in defence manufacturing, but to factors including reducing the dependence on Russian arms, and the complex procurement procedure.
“The drop in Indian arms imports seems to have been mainly due to its complex procurement processes, combined with an attempt to reduce its dependence on Russian arms.
The report also mentioned that in the coming years, India has planned for a number of large-scale arms imports through several suppliers.
Last year the government had announced a negative imports list of 101 defence equipment and platforms. Also, over 60 per cent of the capital expenditure, Rs 70,221 crore, for the armed forces has been allocated for domestically produced weapons and platforms this year.
The report stated that “international transfers of major arms stayed at the same level between 2011–15 and 2016–20” as the “substantial increases in transfers by three of the top five arms exporters — the USA, France and Germany — were largely offset by declining Russian and Chinese arms exports”. The report said middle eastern arms imports grew by 25 per cent during this period, and was driven by Saudi Arabia, with a 61 per cent increase, and Egypt and Qatar, which saw a jump of 136 per cent and 361 per cent, respectively.
In the international arms transfers, Russia and China saw their exports fall, the report said. “Arms exports by Russia, which accounted for 20 per cent of all exports of major arms in 2016–20, dropped by 22 per cent,” to roughly the same level as in 2006–10, the report mentioned.
It highlighted that the bulk of Russian fall was due to India reducing its imports from there.
Alexandra Kuimova, Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme, said, “Russia substantially increased its arms transfers to China, Algeria and Egypt between 2011–15 and 2016–20, but this did not offset the large drop in its arms exports to India.”
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