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Arms sales of top Indian defence firms drop by 6.9%: SIPRI report


Stockholm, Dec 10: The combined sales of three public sector Indian defence companies that figure among the world's 100 top arms suppliers dropped by 6.9 per cent to stand at USD 5.9 billion in 2018 despite a rise in the global weapons sales, according to a new report published by a leading Swedish think tank.

SIPRI report shows arms sales of top Indian defence firms drop by 6.9%

Sales of arms and military services by the sector's largest 100 companies (excluding those in China) totalled USD 420 billion in 2018, marking an increase of 4.6 per cent compared with the previous year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said on Monday.

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The new data from SIPRI's Arms Industry Database shows that sales of arms and military services by companies listed in the top 100 have increased by 47 per cent since 2002. The database excludes Chinese companies due to the lack of data to make a reliable estimate. Eighty of the 100 top arms producers in 2018 were based in the USA, Europe and Russia.

Of the remaining 20, 6 were based in Japan, 3 in Israel, India and South Korea, respectively, 2 in Turkey and 1 each in Australia, Canada and Singapore, the report said. The combined arms sales of the three Indian arms companies listed in the top 100 were USD 5.9 billion in 2018- a decrease of 6.9 per cent on 2017.

The decline is mainly a result of Indian Ordnance Factory's significant 27 per cent drop in arms sales, the report said. The three Indian companies on SIPRI's list of top 100 global arms firms are Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) ranked 38, the Indian Ordnance Factories ranked 56 and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) ranked 62.

They accounted for 1.4 per cent of the arms sales of the top 100 companies. " All three are state-owned and are almost entirely dependent on domestic demand. Arms sales by Hindustan Aeronautics and Bharat Electronics increased in 2018-by 3.5 and 5.9 per cent, respectively.

However, these increases were offset by a 27 per cent fall in the arms sales of Indian Ordnance Factories...The decrease was because of a reduction in orders from the Indian Army," the report said. The combined arms sales of the six Japanese companies remained relatively stable in 2018. At USD 9.9 billion, they accounted for 2.4 per cent of the top 100 total, it said.

The three Israeli companies' arms sales of USD 8.7 billion accounted for 2.1 per cent of the top 100 total. Elbit Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael all increased their arms sales in 2018, the report said. The three companies based in South Korea had combined arms sales of USD 5.2 billion in 2018, equivalent to 1.2 per cent of the top 100 total. Their collective arms sales in 2018 were 9.9 per cent higher than in 2017.

Bucking the trend, however, was LIG Nex1, whose sales fell by 17 per cent in 2018. The shipbuilder DSME, which was ranked in 2017, dropped out of the top 100 in 2018. Arms sales by Turkish companies listed in the top 100 increased by 22 per cent in 2018, to USD 2.8 billion. Turkey aims to develop and modernise its arms industry and Turkish companies continued to benefit from these efforts in 2018.

According to the report, for the first time since 2002, the top five spots in the ranking are held exclusively by arms companies based in the United States: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics. These five companies alone accounted for USD 148 billion and 35 per cent of total top 100 arms sales in 2018.

The combined arms sales of the 10 Russian companies in the 2018 ranking were USD 36.2 billion-a marginal decrease of 0.4 per cent on 2017. Their share of total top 100 arms sales fell from 9.7 per cent in 2017 to 8.6 per cent in 2018.

This can be explained by the higher top 100 total in 2018 due to the substantial growth in the combined arms sales of US and European companies, the report said. The combined arms sales of the 27 European companies in the top 100 increased marginally in 2018, to USD 102 billion.

Arms sales by companies based in the UK fell by 4.8 per cent, to USD 35.1 billion, but remained the highest in Europe, it said.

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