While India's arms imports from Russia, the country's long-standing leading supplier of arms, has fallen sharply by 37%, France has displaced the U.S. as India's second biggest supplier, according to new data on global arms transfers published today by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
India remains the world's top arms importer, but its arms imports declined by 11% between 2013-17 and 2018-22 and this decline was linked to a complex procurement process, efforts to diversify arms suppliers and attempts to replace imports with local designs. India received 30% of France's arms exports in 2018-22, and France displaced the U.S. as the second largest supplier of arms to India after Russia. France's arms exports increased by 44% between 2013-17 and 2018-22 and most of these exports were to Asia and Oceania and the Middle East.
"France is gaining a bigger share of the global arms market as Russian arms exports decline, as seen in India, for example," said Pieter D. Wezeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme. "This seems likely to continue, as by the end of 2022, France had far more outstanding orders for arms exports than Russia."
While Russian arms exports to India fell sharply, exports to India's neighbour China increased by 39% and to Egypt by 44%, and they became Russia's second and third largest recipients. Imports by Pakistan, the world's eighth largest arms importer in 2018-22, increased by 14%, with China as its main supplier.
U.S. arms exports increased by 14% between 2013-17 and 2018-22, and the U.S. accounted for 40% of global arms exports in 2018-22. Russia's arms exports fell by 31% between 2013-17 and 2018-22, and its share of global arms exports decreased from 22% to 16%, while France's share increased from 7.1% to 11%. Global arms exports have long been dominated by the U.S. and Russia (consistently the largest and second largest arms exporters for the past three decades).
However, the gap between the two has been widening significantly, while that between Russia and the third largest supplier, France, has narrowed. "It is likely that the invasion of Ukraine will further limit Russia's arms exports. This is because Russia will prioritize supplying its armed forces and demand from other states will remain low due to trade sanctions on Russia and increasing pressure from the USA and its allies not to buy Russian arms," observes Siemon T. Wezeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.
The report says as a result of military aid from the U.S. and many European states following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Ukraine became the 3rd biggest importer of major arms during 2022 (after Qatar and India) and the 14th biggest for 2018-22. Ukraine accounted for 2% of global arms imports in the five-year period.
Three of the top 10 importers in 2018–22 were in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt. Saudi Arabia was the world's second largest arms importer in 2018–22 and received 9.6% of all arms imports in the period. Qatar's arms imports increased by 311% between 2013-17 and 2018-22, making it the world's third biggest arms importer in 2018-22. The great majority of arms imports to the Middle East came from the U.S. (54%), followed by France (12%), Russia (8.6%) and Italy (8.4%).
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