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India and China world's biggest arms shoppers

Last updated on: March 17, 2010 10:09 IST

India and China world's biggest arms shoppers

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While the United States remains the world's biggest arms supplier, India and China are the biggest importers of conventional weapons, the sales of which rose sharply by 22 per cent globally in 2005-2009, according to a leading Swedish peace research group said.

New data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) shows that the US remains the biggest arms supplier, accounting for 30 per cent of weapons exports. The main recipients of American weapons were South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

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Arms transfers rose 22 pc in 2005-2009

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SIPRI data showed that transfers of major conventional weapons rose by 22 per cent in 2005-2009, compared to the previous five-year period with China and India being the biggest importers of conventional weapons.

While China's arms imports accounted for nine per cent of the global defence sales, the same figure for India was seven per cent, SIPRI said.

Eighty-nine per cent of China's arms imports originated from Russia, it said while identifying France and Ukraine (three per cent each) as the other major sources of conventional weapons.


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Photographs: Dennis Griggs/General Dynamics/Handout/Reuters
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Russia is still India's biggest supplier

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In the case of India, Russia supplied 77 per cent of the country's imported conventional defence equipment while United Kingdom supplied eight per cent and Israel providing five per cent of its arms requirements.

The SIPRI noted that the volume of arms transferred to the top five major recipients for the period 2005 2009 has increased by four per cent over 2000 2004, but the volume of arms transferred to the two largest importers for both periods, China and India, has decreased by around 20 per cent and seven per cent, respectively.

Transfers of major conventional weapons systems to China have dropped significantly in the last three years. With the exception of a handful of helicopters from France and Russia, no major conventional weapons were delivered to China in 2009, SIPRI said.


Image: Chinese People's Liberation Army air force helicopters
Photographs: Alex Hofford/Pool/Reuters
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Volume of weapons sold will keep rising

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The volume of deliveries to India and Pakistan has increased significantly in recent years and will continue to rise during the next five years.

India continues to receive Su-30MKI combat aircraft and T-90S tanks from Russia and in 2009 received its first A-50 airborne early warning aircraft, considered an important force-multiplier, from Israel.

Pakistan received 2 Jiangwei (or F-22P) frigates, its first new major surface warship for many years, and the first of up to 300 JF-17 combat aircraft from China.

It also received its first airborne early-warning aircraft, the Saab- 2000AEW aircraft from Sweden.


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A destabilising outcome

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The SIPRI said combat aircraft accounted for 27 per cent of the volume of international arms transfers during 2005 2009.

Orders and deliveries of these potentially destabilising weapon systems have led to arms race concerns in the following regions of tension: the Middle East, North Africa, South America, South Asia and South East Asia.

SIPRI, established in 1966, is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.


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