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India Tops Global Arms Imports, SIPRI Report

India’s Rising Arms Imports

According to the latest data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India was the world’s top arms importer for the period 2019-2023. India’s arms imports witnessed a 4.7% increase compared to the 2014-2018 period.

Russia Remains India’s Main Supplier

Despite Russia remaining India’s main arms supplier, accounting for 36% of its imports, the report notes that this is the first five-year period since 1960-1964 when deliveries from Russia (or the Soviet Union before 1991) made up less than half of India’s arms imports.

Asia and Middle East Dominate Top Importers

Nine out of the ten biggest arms importers in 2019-2023, including the top three of India, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, were from Asia, Oceania, or the Middle East. Ukraine became the fourth-largest arms importer globally after receiving major arms transfers from over 30 states in 2022-2023.

Surge in European Arms Imports

The report highlights a significant 94% increase in arms imports by European countries between 2014-2018 and 2019-2023, likely influenced by the ongoing war in Ukraine.

U.S. and France Lead Arms Exports

The United States, the world’s largest arms supplier, saw a 17% growth in arms exports between 2014-2018 and 2019-2023. Simultaneously, France emerged as the world’s second-largest arms supplier, with its exports growing by 47%.

Europe’s Military-Industrial Capacity

SIPRI Director Dan Smith noted that more than half of arms imports by European states came from the U.S., reflecting Europe’s strong military-industrial capacity, responsible for about a third of global arms exports, including large volumes going outside the region.

U.S. Exports and Global Role

According to Mathew George, Director of the SIPRI arms transfers program, the U.S. has increased its global role as an arms supplier, exporting more arms to more countries than ever before, reflecting its foreign policy objectives during a time of challenges to its economic and geopolitical dominance.

High-Value Arms Orders in Europe

The report states that with many high-value arms orders, including nearly 800 combat aircraft and combat helicopters, European arms imports are likely to remain at a high level. Additionally, the demand for air defense systems in Europe has increased, spurred by Russia’s missile campaign against Ukraine.

The SIPRI report highlights the changing dynamics of global arms transfers, with India maintaining its position as the top importer, and Europe’s surge in imports driven by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, while the U.S. and France solidify their positions as leading arms exporters.

India Tops Global Arms Imports, SIPRI Report_4.1

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