Russia is still India’s largest arms supplier, says report

MOSCOW: Russia continues to be India’s largest arms supplier, even though its share of Indian defence imports fell from 62% to 45% between 2017-2022, a report says.

France came second with 29% of Indian arms imports, displacing the US at 11%, said the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).

Its researchers found India remains the world’s largest arms buyer, despite an 11% drop in its total weapons imports.

Delhi wants to diversify its imports portfolio and boost domestic capacity.

Experts say the drop in Russian imports can be largely attributed to India’s decision to look for new suppliers and also encourage its local manufacturing.

Sipri said that Russia’s position as India’s main arm supplier was “under pressure due to strong competition from other supplier states, increased Indian arms production” and “constraints on Russia’s arms exports related to its invasion of Ukraine”.

Meanwhile, France’s defence exports to India increased by 489% between 2013-17 and 2018-22, the report said. France ranks third in the list of global arms exporters – behind the US and Russia, but ahead of China and Germany.

Delhi’s orders to France included around 62 combat aircraft and four submarines, Sipri said.

The fall in Russia’s share coincides with calls for Delhi to take tougher a stand on the Ukraine war.

Moscow has been a time tested ally of India and the two countries have shared a close defence relationship for decades – the Indian Army is equipped with Russian-made tanks and rifles, while its air force uses Sukhoi fighter jets and Mi-17 helicopters.

Delhi has not explicitly condemned the Ukraine war but has talked about the importance of “the UN Charter, international law, and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states”.

Courtesy: bbc