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India biggest buyer of heavy weapons in last 5 years: Report

The US remained the top arms exporter in 2012-16 with a one- third share of global arms exports. (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons) Photograph: (Others)

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 21, 2017, 08.40 AM (IST)

India is the biggest importer of major arms in the last five years with overseas procurement exceeding that of China and Pakistan, according to a Stockholm based think-tank.

India accounted for 13 per cent of the total global arms import between 2012 and 2016, which is highest among all the countries, claimed the report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

"India was the world's largest importer of major arms in 2012-16, accounting for 13 per cent of the global total," the leading think-tank said.

The higher component of overseas procurement, greater than China, is because of India's dependence on weapons technology from Russia, the US, Europe, Israel, and South Korea.

China has been able to substitute arms import with indigenous production of weapons, the report said.

The report said China's share of global arms exports rose from 3.8 to 6.2 per cent between 2007-11 and 2012-16.

"It is now firmly a top-tier supplier, like France and Germany which accounted for 6 per cent and 5.6 per cent, respectively," said the think-tank.

Saudi Arabia was the second largest arms importer in 2012-16, with an increase of 212 per cent compared with 2007-11. Arms imports by Qatar went up by 245 per cent.

In the last five years, the trade in major weapons has increased to its highest levels since the Cold War on account of a spike in demand from Asia and particularly West Asia.

"Over the past five years, most states in the Middle East have turned primarily to the USA and Europe in their accelerated pursuit of advanced military capabilities," said Pieter Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme.

He said despite low oil prices, countries in the region continued to order more weapons in 2016, perceiving them as crucial tools for dealing with conflicts and regional tensions.

The US remained the top arms exporter in 2012-16 with a one- third share of global arms exports. Russia accounted for 23 per cent share of global exports with 70 per cent of it going to India, Vietnam, China and Algeria.

"The USA supplies major arms to at least 100 countries around the world, significantly more than any other supplier state," said Dr Aude Fleurant, Director of the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme.

Imports by states in Europe significantly decreased by 36 per cent between 2007-11 and 2012-16.

(WION with inputs from PTI)

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