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India remains world's top arms importer: SIPRI report

London, Mar 11 (PTI) India remains the world's top arms importer and its imports increased by 4.7 per cent between 2014–2018 and 2019–2023, Swedish think tank SIPRI said in a new report on Monday.

London, Mar 11 (PTI) India remains the world's top arms importer and its imports increased by 4.7 per cent between 2014–2018 and 2019–2023, Swedish think tank SIPRI said in a new report on Monday.

Russia continued as India's main arms supplier, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said, adding around 55 per cent of arms imports by European states in 2019–23 were supplied by the US, up from 35 per cent in 2014–18.

'India was the world's top arms importer. Its arms imports increased by 4.7 per cent between 2014–18 and 2019–23,' the think-tank said in a statement.

'Although Russia remained India's main arms supplier (accounting for 36 per cent of its arms imports), this was the first five-year period since 1960–64 when deliveries from Russia (or the Soviet Union before 1991) made up less than half of India's arms imports,' it said.

According to the report, Pakistan significantly increased its arms imports (43 per cent).

Pakistan was the fifth largest arms importer in 2019–23 and China became even more dominant as its main supplier, providing 82 per cent of its arms imports, it said.

Arms imports by two of China's East Asian neighbours increased, Japan's by 155 per cent and South Korea's by 6.5 per cent, it said.

China's own arms imports shrank by 44 per cent, mainly as a result of substituting imported arms -- most of which came from Russia, with locally produced systems.

'There is little doubt that the sustained high levels of arms imports by Japan and other US allies and partners in Asia and Oceania are largely driven by one key factor: concern over China's ambitions,' said Siemon Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.

'The US, which shares their perception of a Chinese threat, is a growing supplier to the region,' it said.

Thirty per cent of international arms transfers went to the Middle East in 2019–23. Three Middle Eastern states were among the top 10 importers in 2019–23: Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt.

Saudi Arabia was the world's second-largest arms importer in 2019–23, receiving 8.4 per cent of global arms imports in the period, the SIPRI said.

Saudi Arabian arms imports fell by 28 per cent in 2019–23, but this was from a record level in 2014–18.

Qatar increased its arms imports almost fourfold (396 per cent) between 2014–18 and 2019–23, making it the world's third biggest arms importer in 2019–23, according to the report. PTI MPB AKJ AKJ

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