India becomes world's biggest importer of weapons

Nag missile and the Nag missile Carrier Vehicle (NAMICA) on display at DEFEXPO-2008 in Delhi. Credit: Ajai Shukla/Wikipedia. CC2.5
Andrew Metheven

Research released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) shows that over the last five years, India has become the world's biggest importer of arms, accounting for 12% of all arms imports between 2013 and 2017, and a signifant increase (24%) on the previous five years. Russia provided 62% of these imports, though imports rose dramatically, becoming India's second biggest arms supplier.

Siemon Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme said “the tensions between India, on the one side, and Pakistan and China, on the other, are fuelling India’s growing demand for major weapons, which it remains unable to produce itself.

Other key facts from the data released by SIPRI, which analyses arms transfer between 2013 and 2017, include:

  • Despite China's arms imports falling by 19% between 2008-12 and 2013-17, they remained the fifth biggest importer of arms.

  • Nigeria's imports grew by 42% between 2008–12 and 2013–17, depsite arms imports to African states as a whole decreasing by 22%. Algeria accounted for 52 per cent of all African imports in 2013–17.

  • Indonesia increased its arms imports by 193 per cent between 2008–12 and 2013–17.

  • The five biggest exporters—the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China—together accounted for 74 per cent of all arms exports in 2013–17.

  • In 2013–17 the USA accounted for over a third - 34% - of all arms exports.


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