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India Doubles Weapons Purchases as Asian Arms Imports Expand

  • VOA News

FILE - Indian army soldiers patrol near the Line of Control (LOC), the line that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

FILE - Indian army soldiers patrol near the Line of Control (LOC), the line that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

A Swedish research institute reported India - the world's largest arms importer - more than doubled its weapons purchases over the past five years.

In a study released Monday, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said Indian imports of major weapons rose by 111 percent between 2009 and 2013, compared to the previous five-year period.

The 10 largest importers of major weapons 2009 – ’13

The 10 largest importers of major weapons 2009 – ’13

The report said Indian arms purchases now make up 14 percent of the global total. That is almost three times as high as the world's next two biggest arms importers, China and Pakistan.

Overall, SIPRI said international transfers of major conventional weapons grew by 14 percent in the past five years. The world's five largest weapons suppliers are the United States, Russia, Germany, China and France.

Volume of arms transfers, in billions of trend-indicator values

Volume of arms transfers, in billions of trend-indicator values

The study said Asia led the rising trend in arms imports, receiving 47 percent of all weapons transfers. It said that China and the U.S. in particular "appear to be using arms deliveries to Asia to strengthen their influence in the region."

The U.S. has deepened its defense relationships with many Asian countries as part of the Obama administration's so-called "pivot" to the region. Despite U.S. assurances otherwise, many Chinese fear the shift is meant to contain Beijing's rise.

China until recent years was the world's largest importer of weapons. Recently, it has increased domestic weapons production and reduced its reliance on foreign imports. SIPRI says Beijing's main weapons clients are Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma.
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