India’s arms imports fell 11% between 2013-17 and 2018-22, but the country is still the world’s top importer of military hardware, a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) said on Monday. The report comes at a time when India has sharpened its focus on achieving self-reliance in defence manufacturing.
The latest report is in line with what last year’s Sipri report said. In 2022, it said India’s imports fell 21% between 2012-16 and 2017-21, but that the country was still the world’s biggest arms importer. The new report said the reasons for the decline in India’s imports included attempts to replace imports with local makes and a complex procurement process.
According to new Sipri data, the US was the world’s topmost military exporter in the past five years, accounting for 40% of global exports, followed by Russia (16%), France (11%), China (5.2%) and Germany (4.2%). US arms exports jumped 14% between 2013-17 and 2018-22, while Russia’s fell 31% during the same period. Russia’s imports to India fell 37%.
“It is likely that the invasion of Ukraine will further limit Russia’s arms exports. This is because Russia will prioritise supplying its armed forces and demand from other states will remain low due to trade sanctions on Russia and increasing pressure from the USA and its allies not to buy Russian arms,” said Siemon T Wezeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.