China has gained further ground as a global arms supplier and India kept its spot as the world’s leading arms importer, a Swedish-based research institute says.
India’s 2009-2013 imports stood at 14 per cent of the world’s total, almost three times larger than those of rivals China and Pakistan, the world’s second-and third-largest importers on five per cent each, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said on Monday.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were also among the top five importers, reflecting heavy investments to deter rival Iran, SIPRI researcher Siemon Wezeman said.
The volume of world arms transfers increased in the period by 14 per cent compared with 2004-2008.
In its overview, SIPRI said there were 55 arms exporting countries.
The United States and Russia were the main exporters, supplying more than half the world’s arms between 2009 and 2013.
The US, with 29 per cent of global exports, sold to “more countries than anybody else during the past five years”, Wezeman said.
SIPRI estimated the US sold arms to at least 90 countries. Australia, South Korea and the UAE are its main markets.
With more cuts in the US defence budget, US arms makers were likely to become more dependent on exports, Wezeman said. The US government has also been keen on promoting arms exports for commercial and strategic reasons.
The mainstay of US exports were combat aircraft, followed by missile defence systems.
Russia delivered arms to 52 countries, and was a main supplier of ships and aircraft. India, China and Algeria accounted for more than half of Russia’s exports.
Meanwhile, China replaced France as the fourth-largest exporter with a six per cent share.