India is world's largest arms importer

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) said on Monday that global transfer of major weapons systems between 2013 and 2017 rose by 10% compared with the five-year period before that, in a continuation of an upward trend that began two decades ago.

India continues its dubious standing as the largest importer of major arms in the world in 2013-17, accounting for 12 per cent of the global total.

In 2013-17 the US accounted for 34 percent of total arms exports which was a 25 percent increase on the previous five year period and 58 percent higher than those of Russian Federation, the second largest arms exporter.

Almost half of United States arms exports over the past five years have gone to the war-stricken Middle East, with Saudi Arabia consolidating its place as the world's second biggest importer, a report has shown.

"Based on deals signed during the Obama administration, USA arms deliveries in 2013-17 reached their highest level since the late 1990s", said Aude Fleurant, Director of the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Program.

"This development is part of the growing strategic partnership between the two countries under which the U.S. has begun to supply India with advanced military equipment", the report said.

According to Siemon Wezeman, a senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme, the tension in recent past with both Pakistan and China have led to the increase in growing demands of weapon, which India does not produce itself.

France, Germany and China were also among the top five exporters. The report found this maneuver to be a direct violation of the Arms Trade Treaty, and SIPRI wrote Monday that the rising number of weapons sales overseas meant such worldwide agreements needed to be enhanced and enforced.

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In 2013-17 Saudi Arabia was the world's second largest arms importer, with arms imports increasing by 225 per cent compared with 2008-12. Much of American exports include military and transport aircraft.

On the other hand, India - which has been accelerating its relationship with the USA over the past several years from more military exercises to a path-breaking logistics sharing agreement - has recorded a 557 per cent increase in arms deliveries from Washington in 2013-17 as compared to the past.

China's arms import slipped by 19 percent between 2008-12 and 2013-17 as the country produced its own advanced weapons.

The sale from United States arms majors, too, reduced by 76% between 2013 and 2017 compared to the previous five-year period. "We don't know if what we see is the tip of the iceberg or most of the iceberg when something is found", he says, noting that serious, reputable shipping companies are unlikely to be involved in taking such risks.

Beijing is the dominant weapons exporter to Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh, says Stockholm institute report.

"Based on deals signed during the Obama administration, United States arms deliveries in 2013-17 reached their highest level since the late 1990s", said Dr Aude Fleurant, the director of the Sipri's arms and military expenditure programme.

But who is the second largest importer of weapons after India?

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