The volume of Indian imports of major weapons rose by 111% between 2004/08 and 2009/13 and its share of the volume of international arms imports increased from seven to 14 % the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reports.
At the same time Pakistan’s imports of major arms increased by 119%.
The major suppliers of arms to India in 2009/13 were Russia (accounting for 75% of imports) and the United States (seven percent), which for the first time became the second largest arms supplier to India. In contrast, the USA’s share of Pakistani imports in the same period was 27%. China was also a major supplier in the region, accounting for 54% of Pakistani arms imports and 82% of Bangladeshi imports.
“Chinese, Russian and US arms supplies to South Asia are driven by both economic and political considerations. In particular, China and the USA appear to be using arms deliveries to Asia to strengthen their influence in the region.’ said Siemon Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.
Russian arms deliveries remain high
The five largest suppliers of major weapons during the five-year period 2009/13 were the United States (29% of global arms exports), Russia (27%), Germany (seven percent), China (six percent) and France (five percent).
The top five suppliers accounted for 74% of the total volume of arms exports worldwide. The USA and Russia together accounted for 56% of the volume of arms exports.
“Russia has maintained high levels of arms exports despite the crisis in its arms industry in the post-cold war period. In 2009/13 Russia delivered major arms to 52 states. Russia’s most significant export in 2013 was of an aircraft carrier to India,” Wezeman said.
Imports by Gulf states on the increase
Arms imports to Arab states of the Gulf increased by 23% from 2004/08 to 2009/13, accounting for 52% of imports to the Middle East in the latter period. Saudi Arabia rose to become the fifth largest importer of major weapons worldwide in 2009/13, compared to 18th in 2004/08.
Several Gulf states have invested heavily in advanced, long-range strike systems and air and missile defence systems. This includes large orders for and deliveries of combat aircraft with precision-guided weapons from the United Kingdom and the USA.
“The United States, which accounted for 45% of arms deliveries to Gulf states, has signed a series of major deals which will maintain its high levels of arms exports to these countries. In 2013, for the first time, the US allowed the sale of long-range air launched cruise missiles to Gulf states,” Wezeman said.
Other notable developments
Brazil is increasing its arms imports. In 2009/13 it ordered four submarines from France and 2 044 armoured vehicles from Italy, and decided to buy 36 combat aircraft from Sweden.
South Korea was the eighth largest arms importer in 2009/13, receiving and ordering combat aircraft, missiles, reconnaissance aircraft and air defence radars in order to increase its capability to detect and destroy North Korean missiles.
Australia increased its imports of major arms by 83% between 2004/08 and 2009/13.
China has firmly established itself as a supplier of major arms in the same category as Germany and France and has succeeded in convincing Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), to select Chinese air defence systems.
Imports by Azerbaijan increased by 378%between 2004/08 and 2009/13.
Sudan and Uganda, both of which are involved in a number of conflicts, accounted for 17 and 16%, respectively, of arms imports in sub-Saharan Africa.
European arms imports decreased by 25% between 2004/08 and 2009/13.
In the period 2009–13, 10 countries received 16 submarines of which eight were delivered by Germany. By the end of 2013 another 50 submarines were on order.