Editor: Jeff M. Smith, South Asia Security Monitor, No. 284, March 28, 2012 —
The 2012 report on global arms transfers published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has identified India as the largest arms importer for the five year period from 2007-2011, with New Delhi accounting for 10 percent of the total volume. India’s weapons imports jumped by 38 percent from the 2002-2006 period, with Russia emerging as New Delhi’s top supplier with an 80 percent share. Asia as a whole was responsible for 44 percent of the total volume of arms transfers from 2007-2011, placing it far above the next regional importer of arms, Europe, at 19 percent.
After India, the top five arms importers were rounded out by South Korea (six percent), Pakistan (five percent), China (five percent), and Singapore (four percent). China, the world’s top arms importer in 2006-7, has dropped to fourth place largely due to increased domestic production of arms. Meanwhile, the volume of China’s arms exports have soared, growing 95% from the 2002-2006 period to the 2007-2011 period, largely due to surging arms exports to Pakistan. However, America remains the world’s largest exporter of arms, accounting for 30 percent of the total, with Russia a close second at 24 percent. India’s recently-released budget calls for a defense budget increase of 13 percent next year to $38.4 billion while China is planning an 11 percent rise to around $106 billion. (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, March 19, 2012)