On the Top Step of the Podium
India remains the world's largest arms buyer. The country increased its imports by 111% in the past five years. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) India was the largest arms importer for the period 2009- 2013, accounting for 14% of world deliveries. The top 5 arms importers are: 1.India 2.China 3.Pakistan 4.United Arab Emirates 5.Saudi Arabia. But it should also be stressed that India's arms import were almost three times as high as those of China and Pakistan. At the other end of this particularly lucrative business the five largest suppliers of major weapons are the US (29%), Russia (27%), Germany (7%),China (6%), and France (5%). And not surprisingly the former Soviet Union accounted for 75% of India's imports well ahead of the US with only 7%. India's arms-buying policy can obviously be explained by the threats the country perceives. And these security threats come first and foremost from China and Pakistan. It is certainly a view shared by a majority in the armed forces as well as in the public opinion. And China's naval expand on the Indian Ocean is a hard fact which is taken very seriously by the Defence Staff. But India's overwhelming appetite for weapons manufactured outside the country must also be explained by the very low domestic production. As a result the country continues to import 65% of its military hardware and software. Despite this, the Armed Forces are still facing a shortage of strategic weapons such as fighter jets or submarines. Yet, to fulfil its long term geopolitical objectives the Indian Industry will have to improve rapidly its ability to produce every type of sophisticated weapons. And whatever happens, the global armament market has a bright future because there will always be a sense of threat or vulnerability somewhere in the world.