India is world's largest arms importer


USA arms sales have surged significantly in the past four years as more weapons flowed to clients involved in violent conflicts in the Middle East, according to a conflict monitoring and disarmament analysis institute.

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

On the other hand, India was the largest importer of arms during the 2013-'17 period.

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.

Under Abdel Fatah al-Sisi's presidency, Egypt's arms imports grew by 215 percent in the last five years.

The five largest arms exporters in the world are the United States (which sells 35% of the world's weapons), Russian Federation (22%), France, Germany and China.

"Widespread violent conflict in the Middle East and concerns about human rights have led to political debate in Western Europe and North America about restricting arms sales", Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher with the Sipri Arms and Military Expenditure Programme said in a statement.

The study further said that China has increasingly been becoming capable of producing its own weapons, and maintaining itself as a supplier in the region by maintaining good relations with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Surprisingly, India's long-time foe has slashed its imports despite its tensions with India and internal conflicts.

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The US, which is the world's biggest exporter, increased its sales between those two periods by 25 per cent, according to the Sipri report.

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.

Arms exports to the Middle East, Asia and Oceania increased, while there was a decrease in the flow of arms to Africa, the Americas and Europe.

SIPRI data reflects the volume of deliveries of arms, not the financial value of the deals.

It also accounted for 71 percent of weapons imports to Bangladesh and for 70 percent of imports to India's nuclear-armed rival, Pakistan. The study said, "Pakistan accounted for 2.8 per cent of global arms imports in 2013-17".

In 2013-17, Saudi Arabia was the world's second largest arms importer, behind India, with arms imports increasing by 225 percent. The sale of United States arms to Pakistan dropped by 76% in 2013-'17 compared to 2008-'12.

The SIPRI report notes deteriorating ties between the United States and Pakistan, stemming from the perception that Islamabad is not doing enough to combat terrorism in Afghanistan.

In 2017 it delivered one patrol ship, the USS Morgenthau, to Vietnam - the first major U.S. arms transfer to that country. However, arms imports from the USA rose by 557 percent, making it India's second largest arms supplier. Despite this, it was the world's fifth largest arms importer in 2013-17.

SIPRI, an independent institute, monitors arms deliveries by volume over periods of five years in order to iron out short-term fluctuations.