India displaces China as largest arms importer

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London, Mar 19: India has become the world's biggest importer of arms, displacing China by accounting for 10% of global arms sales volumes.

Over the past five years, India's imports of major weapons increased by 38% between 2007-11, a Swedish security think tank said with Asia topping other regions in arms imports.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in its new report said that India was closely followed by China and Pakistan whose weapons imports constituted 5% each of global sales.

Pakistan took delivery of "significant numbers of combat aircrafts during this period : 50 JF-17s from China and 30 F-16s from US," SIPRI said.

The Swedish think tank said China which had been world's top arms importer in 2006-2007 has now dropped to fourth place, attributing this to improvements in the country's arms industry and its rising arms exports.

SIPRI said China is now world's sixth largest world exporter of weapons behind the US, Russia, Germany, France and UK.

But "while the volume of China's arms export is increasing, this is largely a result of Pakistan importing more arms from China."

"Beijing has not achieved a major breakthrough in any other significant market," the report said.

According to SIPRI estimates India is likely to spend more than $100 billion on weapons and systems in the next 15 years.

The Swedish institute catalogued India's major recent deals as 126 fighter jets and notable deliveries of other combat aircrafts, including 120 Su-30MKs and 16 MIG-29Ks from Russia and 20 Jaguars from UK.

Other deals include transport planes, submarines and a range of naval vessels, Tanks, small arms and artillery.

PTI

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