Evolving landscape of India’s arms trade

YB WEB DESK. Dated: 4/3/2021 1:09:54 PM

New Delhi, Apr 02 The recently released Trends in International Arms Transfers, 2020, a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), sheds light on the state of defence sales and procurement around the world. Looking at the five-year period of 2016- 2020, it establishes patterns of defence trade by recording imports and exports of major weapons systems between countries. Incidentally, the report can also act as a means to gauge the strength, and emergence, of bilateral security relations. Among many interesting trends that the report highlights, those on the changing landscape of India’s defence procurement and manufacturing are noteworthy. Data presented in the report provides us with a clearer picture as to where New Delhi stands in its quest to become Atmanirbhar (self-reliant) in defence production, the progress it has made so far, and its continued — albeit reduced — reliance on imported weaponry. Here is an indepth look at these aspects, and other takeaways from the report. India emerged as the second- largest importer of arms transferred between 2016-20, with a share of 9.5% of global arms imports. Even so, its imports fell 33% from that between 2011-2015. The SIPRI report has attributed this decline to the country’s complex procurement procedures and efforts to reduce its dependence on Russian weapons. Correspondingly, Russia has been the worst hit by India’s decreased share, although it still ranks as the subcontinent’s largest arms supplier, delivering 49% of its total imports, ahead of France (18%) and Israel (13%). , defence transfers from the US to India declined by 46% as well. India’s goal, thus, seems to have been to cut its dependence on other countries for defence systems across the board rather than to pivot from one supplier to the other. This underlines New Delhi’s resolve to promote indigenous defence manufacturing and export, with the target of increasing the s e c t o r ’ s turnover to US$ 25 b i l l i o n , i n - cluding US$ 5 billion from exports, by 2025. India’s goal seems to have been to cut its dependence on other countries for defence systems across the board rather than to pivot from one supplier to the other. There is, though, still much to be done. Three countries, namely Russia, France, and Israel, count India as the largest recipient of their defence exports. Such ties are operationally, diplomatically, and politically unviable to sever. Hence, India should find ways of becoming self-reliant that would not adversely affect relations with its partner countries. Engaging them to jointly develop and indigenously manufacture technologies, such as jet engines, missiles, swarm drones, and other AI-driven capabilities, is one such way. Moving to the Middle East, the region saw a 25% increase in arms imports between 2011-2015 and 2016-2020. This increase was a result of Saudi Arabia’s imports rising 61%, Egypt’s 136%, and Qatar’s staggering 361%. On the flip side, exports from the US, France, and Germany rose, while those from Russia and China declined. This helped the US cement its position as the world’s largest arms exporter. The decline in Russian arms exports can almost entirely be attributed to the 53% decline in India’s defence imports from Moscow. The magnitude of this decrease was such that even though Russian arms transfers to Algeria, China, and Egypt increased, it could not be offset.


Face to Face

Indian Army organises tour of 'Air force' for Kashmiri Youth to motivate youth to join Indian Army and Air Force... Read More





Daily horoscope