Defence imports, arms imports: India, Pakistan
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
2005-15: Arms transfers to India and Pakistan
Oct 05 2016: The Times of India
Arms transfers to India and Pakistan, 2005-15, and the countries that the arms were sourced from
China  accounted for 77% of Pakistan's arms imports. Not too long ago, the US had 55% share in the country's defence imports. India's import basket is much more diversified.
2010-14:India the biggest importer
Mar 17 2015
India remains world's largest arms importer
India continues with its embarrassing trudge on the world stage as the largest arms importer, which also makes it strategically vulnerable. A global think-tank on Monday said India's weapons imports are now three times larger than its neighbours China and Pakistan as well as cash-rich Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The latest data on international arms transfers released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) shows India accounted for 15% of the global arms imports from 2010 to 2014. “Between 2005-2009 and 2010-2014, India's arms imports increased by 140%. In 2005-2009, India's imports were 23% below China's and just over double those of Pakistan,“ SIPRI said.
India continues to grapple with a fledgling DIB, importing 65% of its military hardware and software. India has spent Rs 1,03,536 crore ($16.72 billion) in direct payments to foreign armament companies in the last five years, while exporting arms worth a paltry Rs 2,644 crore ($426 million) in the same time.
China has surpassed Germany to emerge as the world's third largest arms seller with bulk of exports to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, a Stockholm International Peace Research Institute report said on Monday . “Chinese exports of arms increased by 143%, making it the third largest supplier in 201014, however still significantly behind US and Russia,“ the report said. Despite the rise, China's share in global arms market remained just 5% while US and Russia accounted for 58%.
Defence weapon imports by India, China, Pakistan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia etc., 2010- 2019
Rajat Pandit, March 16, 2021: The Times of India
India’s arms imports fell by 33% between 2011-2015 and 2016-2020, but it continues in the strategically-vulnerable position of being world’s second-largest arms importer behind Saudi Arabia.
India accounted for 9.5% of total global arms imports during 2016-2020, as per the latest data on international arms transfers released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
Saudi Arabia topped the list of arms importers (11%), followed by India, Egypt (5.8%), Australia (5.1%) and China (4.7%). Pakistan was at 10th (2.7%) position. India’s top three arms suppliers during 2016-2020 were Russia (49%), France (18%) and Israel (13%), followed by the US. SIPRI attributed the drop mainly due to its “complex and lengthy procurement processes, combined with an attempt to reduce its dependence on Russian arms”.
Arms imports from Russia sees sharp dip, procurement from US falls by 46%
Though Russia was the most affected supplier, India’s arms imports from the US also fell by 46%, the Swedish think-tank said.
India has definitely broad-based its arms imports, increasingly turning to the US, France and Israel for arms imports over the last 15 years, but over 60% of the weapons systems used by the 1.5 million strong Indian armed forces are still of Russian-origin.
Moreover, SIPRI’s statistical data on arms transfers “relates to actual deliveries” of major weapon systems. So, it does not take into account India’s mega deals with Russia for which deliveries are yet to begin. These include the $5.43 billion one for S-400 Triumf surface-toair missile systems in 2018 and the over $3 billion lease of a Akula-1 nuclear-powered attack submarine in 2019.
India, of course, has also undertaken a slew of policy decisions in recent years to bolster its fledgling defence industrial base and reduce the overwhelming dependence on foreign weapons (see infographic). But they are yet to materialize, in any substantial manner, on the ground.
The SIPRI report, on its part, said, “As India perceives increasing threats from Pakistan and China and as its ambitious plans to produce its own major arms have been significantly delayed, it is planning largescale programmes for arms imports…they are expected to increase over the coming five years.”
Arms imports by Pakistan also decreased by 23% between the two five-year periods, but China accounted for 74% of them in 2016-2020. Pakistan is slated to get several major deliveries by 2028, which include 50 combat aircraft, eight submarines and four frigates from China, as also four frigates from Turkey.
The five largest arms exporters in 2016-20 were the US (37% share), Russia (20%), France (8.2%), Germany (5.5%) and China (5.2%), together accounting for 76% of all exports of major weapon systems.While the major clients of the US were Saudi Arabia, Australia and South Korea, Russia’s main customers included India, China and Algeria. Pakistan, Bangladesh and Algeria, in turn, were the major recipients of Chinese arms.
India was placed in the 24th position of arms exporters, accounting for 0.2% of the total global figure, with Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Mauritius being the top three recipients. The Narendra Modi government, incidentally, has set an ambitious target of achieving a turnover of $25 billion, including exports of $5 billion, in aerospace and defence goods and services by the year 2024. But it will take a lot of doing.
2014: Defence Imports of India
India's defence imports 40 times its export basket
Rajat Pandit The Times of India Nov 29 2014
Paid Foreign Vendors Over Rs 1LCr In Last 5 Years: Parrikar
Prime Minister Narendra Modi may want India to start exporting weapons in a major way instead of importing them in large numbers, but it will take a lot of doing. Latest figures show that India's arms imports are a staggering 40 times the size of its exports, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Defence minister Manohar Parrikar has told Parliament that the total expenditure on “direct payments to foreign vendors for capital acquisitions“ for the army, navy and air force during the last five years stood at Rs 1,03,535 crore ($16.72 billion).
In sharp contrast, as per a written reply in Lok Sabha on Friday , the five defence PSUs, four shipyards and 39 ordnance factories as well as the private sector, all put together managed to export defence equipment worth just a paltry Rs 1,644 crore in the last three years. The figure in the first six months of the ongoing fiscal stands at just Rs 167 crore.
India has the dubious distinction of being the world's largest arms importer due to a stagnant defence-industrial base (DIB), which forces the armed forces to acquire 65% of their requirements from abroad.
The Modi government's rhetoric on the “Make in India“ policy with greater private sector participation in the defence production sector will take several years -if at all it does materialize on the ground. It will need sweeping systemic reforms to revive the country's DIB from its prolonged stupor.
Sources, however, said the defence ministry is now working to “streamline“ the “complicated“ indigenous defence production policy .There is an attempt, for instance, to revive the provision for the government to fund 80% of the development cost of a weapon prototype, with the industry chipping in with 20%, in “high-risk projects“.
The battle has to be fought on two fronts. First, a radical overhaul of the functioning of DRDO, defence PSUs, Ordnance Factory Board and shipyards is needed to ensure they can deliver cutting-edge weapons in a cost-effective and timely manner.
Concomitantly , the private sector has to be encouraged to enter defence pro duction in a major way .“There has to be concrete government support with confirmed orders since defence projects are capital-intensive and have long-gestation periods,“ said an officer.
India will remain strategically vulnerable till it builds a robust DIB since supplies can be choked in times of need. China has assiduously built a strong DIB, making it the world's thirdlargest arms exporter, even though it also remains the third-largest importer.
India also does not get the biggest bang for its buck.There is no concrete planning to build military capabilities, with the three Services continuing to squabble over the limited budgetary pie. Consequently , the armed forces continue to grapple with huge deficiencies in equipment.
2014-18: India No. 2 arms importer
Rajat Pandit, India slips to No. 2 spot on list of arms importers, March 12, 2019: The Times of India
India has dropped to the second position behind Saudi Arabia among the world’s largest arms importers after remaining at the top for almost a decade, as per the latest data on international arms transfers released by a global think-tank, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), on Monday.
But this may not accurately reflect the actual situation because SIPRI itself says its statistical data on arms transfers “relates to actual deliveries of major conventional weapons”. So, several mega defence deals inked by India, for which the deliveries are yet to begin, have apparently not been considered in the analysis.
These deals range from 36 Rafale fighters for Rs 59,000 crore from France to five squadrons of S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems for Rs 40,000 crore from Russia. While the Rafales will be delivered in the November 2019-April 2022 timeframe, the S-400 squadrons will come between October 2020 and April 2023.
India’s continuance at the top in the global arms import rankings, be it first or second, once again reinforces the persistent failure to build a strong indigenous defence industrial base, which can make the country strategically vulnerable if supplies are choked in times of conflict.
Though the NDA government has pushed the ‘Make in India’ policy to some extent, the fact also remains that no major defence production project in fields ranging from fighters, helicopters and minesweepers to infantry combat vehicles and diesel-electric submarines has actually taken off in the last five years, as was reported earlier by TOI.
“India’s imports decreased by 24% between 2009-2013 and 2014-2018, partly due to delays in deliveries of arms produced under licence from foreign suppliers, such as combat aircraft ordered from Russia and submarines from France,” SIPRI said.
IAF has so far inducted around 250 of the 272 Sukhoi-30MKIs ordered from Russia, with the bulk of them being produced by defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics for over Rs 55,000 crore. The Navy has inducted only one of the six French Scorpene submarines being built at Mazagon Docks for over Rs 23,000 crore. Both the projects are running over three years behind schedule.
In sharp contrast, apart from being the sixth largest arms importer, China has also emerged as the world’s fifth largest exporter by assiduously focusing on indigenous defence production and reverse-engineering of topnotch military technology.
China has become a bigtime exporter of UCAVs (unmanned combat aerial vehicles), supplying 153 of them to 13 countries.
India and the world: military spending in 2022
Rajat Pandit, April 25, 2023: The Times of India
India, overtaken by Russia over the past one year, is now the world’s fourth-largest military spender, while China continues to spend almost four times and the US more than 10 times its defence budget, as global defence spending grows for the eighth consecutive year to reach an all-time high in 2022. The total global military expenditure increased 3.
7% in real terms to reach $2,240 billion in 2022, with Europe registering its steepest year-on-year increase in at least 30 years due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as per the latest data by think-tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
The 10 largest military spenders are the US ($877 billion), China ($292 billion), Russia ($86. 4 billion), India ($81. 4 billion), Saudi Arabia ($75 billion), UK ($68. 5 billion), Germany ($55. 8 billion), France ($53. 6 billion), South Korea ($46. 4 billion) and Japan ($46 billion). While the figures for China and Russia are estimates due to lack of transparency, Ukraine is placed at 11th rank with $44 billion and Pakistan at 24th spot with $10. 3 billion. Russia was placed 5th in the 2021 list with a military expenditure of $66 billion but has jumped two places in the 2022 ranking. “The continuous rise in global military expenditure in recent years is a sign that we are living in an increasingly insecure world. States are bolstering military strength in response to a deteriorating security environment, which they do not foresee improving in the near future,” SIPRI said.
India, of course, faces a clear and present threat from an aggressive and expansionist China, while Pakistan continues to fuel cross-border terrorism. But with huge competing demands from other sectors, India’s defence budget for 2023-24 is just 1. 97% of the projected GDP when at least 2. 5% is required, as reported earlier by TOI. This becomes all the more important because India’s military modernisation of its over 14-lakh strong armed forces also remains constrained by ballooning salary and pension bills that eat up over half of its defence expenditure.
The Rs 5. 93-lakh crore de- fence budget for 2023-24, for instance, includes Rs 1. 4 lakh crore for pensions and Rs 1. 8 lakh crore for salaries. Consequently, the armed forces continue to contend with critical operational shortages, ranging from fighters, submarines and helicopters to modern infantry weapons, antitank guided missiles and night-fighting capabilities, despite the ongoing military confrontation with China. SIPRI, on its part, said India’s spending was up by 6% from 2021 and by 47% from 2013. “The increase in India’s spending shows the effects of its border tensions with China and Pakistan,” it said. But the think-tank also took note that India’s capital expenditure for modernisation amounted to just 23% of its total military spending in 2022. “Personnel expenses (salaries and pensions) remained the largest expenditure category in the Indian military budget, accounting for around half of all military spending,” SIPRI said.
2013-2017: India no.1 importer
Rajat Pandit, March 13, 2018: The Times of India
Arms imports by India increased by 24% between 2008-2012 and 2013-2017 .
India is followed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, China, Australia, Algeria, Iraq, Pakistan and Indonesia.
The largest arms suppliers to India from 2013-2017 were Russia (62%), US (15%) and Israel (11%).
Persisting failure to build a robust defence production industry has ensured that India continues to remain in the strategically-vulnerable position of being the world’s largest arms importer, accounting for 12% of the global imports from 2013-2017.
Arms imports by India + increased by 24% between 2008-2012 and 2013-2017 periods, as per data on international arms transfers released by global think-tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
India is followed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, China, Australia, Algeria, Iraq, Pakistan and Indonesia as the world’s top arms importers. The largest arms suppliers to India from 2013-2017 were Russia (62%), US (15%) and Israel (11%).
India remains the biggest buyer of weaponry from Russia and Israel. The US, as part of its foreign policy to counter China’s growing influence in Asia has notched up military sales to India — worth $15 billion over the last decade and up by 557% between 2008-2012 and 2013-2017 — to overtake several countries and displace Russia at the top spot for a couple of years.
SIPRI, on its part said, “Arms transfers are often used as a US foreign policy tool to forge new strategic partnerships. As part of its efforts to offset China’s growing influence in Asia and Oceania, for example, the US has strengthened its ties with India, Its arms deliveries to India rose by 557% between 2008-2012 and 2013-2017.”
China, with its systematic drive to build a strong defence-industrial base (DIB) figures among the world’s top-five arms exporters after the US, Russia, France and Germany. They together account for 74% of all arms exports. China’s biggest client are Pakistan, which receives 35% of its exports, and Bangladesh (19%).
India, however, continues to wallow with a fledgling DIB, with the armed forces sourcing 65% of their requirements from abroad.
Successive governments have failed to drastically overhaul the DRDO and its 50 labs, five defence PSUs, four shipyards and 41 ordnance factories to ensure they deliver without huge cost and time overruns.
Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, speaking at a function on Monday, herself admitted that though defence PSUs and ordnance factories have a lot of potential, they need to be “revived, revitalised and made a lot more dynamic”.
India has also made little headway in getting its private sector to take to defence production in a big way. The NDA government’s much-touted “Make in India” policy with foreign collaboration has also come a cropper, with no major defence production project actually taking off in the last four years.
At least six major mega projects worth Rs 3.5 lakh crore, from fighters and submarines to helicopters and infantry combat vehicles, are stuck at different stages. Similarly, India has attracted just a measly Rs 1.17 crore as foreign direct investment in the defence production sector in the last four years.
2018: China, Pakistan’s imports fall; India’s rise
Defence imports of China, India and Pakistan, 2008-17
The countries that India and Pakistan mainly imported from in 2013-17
March 14, 2023: The Times of India
New Delhi : India continues to languish in the strategically-vulnerable as well as embarrassing position of being the world’s largest arms importer, accounting for 11% of the total global imports in 2018-22, despite the government’s continuing thrust on ‘Make in India’ in defence production,reports Rajat Pandit.
The latest data on international arms transfers released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on Monday shows Russia remains the largest weapons supplier to India with 45% of total imports in 2018-22, though its share is declining. France accounts for 29%, displacing the US from the second position by riding on deals like the Rs 59,000-crore one for 36 Rafales. The US, in turn, notchedup 11% of the total weapon sales to India. India is followed by SArabia (9. 6%), Qatar (6. 4%), Australia (4. 7%), China (4. 6%), Egypt (4. 5%), S Korea (3. 7%) and Pakistan (3. 7%) among the top 10 arms importers.
Rajat Pandit, March 14, 2023: The Times of India
New Delhi : India accounted for 11% of the total global imports in 2018-22, despite the government’s thrust on ‘Make in India’ in defence production.
The top 10 arms exporters, in turn, are the US (40%), Russia (16%), France (11%), China (5. 2%), Germany (4. 2%), Italy (3. 8%), UK (3. 2%), Spain (2. 6%), South Korea (2. 4%) and Israel (2. 3%). China, incidentally, accounts for 77% of the arms supplies to Pakistan.
India, which is the world’s third-largest military spender after the US and China, has taken a series of steps towards achieving ‘atmanirbharta’ (self-reliance) in defence production. These range from the notification of four “positive indigenisation lists” and increase in theFDI limit to creating “a favourable environment” for Indian vendors and earmarking a record 75% of the defence capital procurement budget for the domestic industry in 2023-24.
On Monday, junior defence minister Ajay Bhatt told RS that the expenditure on defence procurement from foreign sources has reduced from 46% of the overall expenditure in 2018-19 to 36. 7% as per data till December 2022 due to the various policy initiatives. But a lot more clearly needs to be done if India has to meet its oft-repeated ambitious target of achieving a domestic turnover of Rs 1,75,000 crore in the defence and aerospace sectors, including exports of Rs 35,000 crore, by 2024-25.
As per SIPRI data, India has been the world’s largest arms importer since 1993. This underlines its persisting failure to build a strong defence-industrial base with much larger private sector participation as well as the poor performance by the DRDO, defence PSUs and ordnance factories over the years. The lack of concrete long-term plans to systematically build military capabilities, with proper inter-service prioritisation, also remains a major problem. This is reflected in existing major operational shortages in fighter jets, submarines, helicopters, anti-tank guided missiles, night-fighting capabilities and the like.
The SIPRI data does show India’s arms imports dropped by 11% between 2013-2017 and 2018-2022. “The decrease can be attributed to several factors, including India’s slow and complex arms procurement process, ,” it said.