US Report: Asian Countries Emerge As Largest Arms Importers

The latest US Congress Research report has revealed that Saudi Arabia, India and Pakistan emerged as the top three largest purchaser of arms among developing nations in 2016.
As per the report – titled ‘Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations 2008-2015’, the long-standing political tension between the two has prompted both India and Pakistan to import arms and ammunition from foreign countries. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia emerged as the biggest importer of arms mainly because of its involvement in the Syrian crisis.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) mentioned in the report that while Saudi Arabia purchased defence equipment worth USD 93.5 billion between 2008 and 2015, India imported weapons worth USD 34 billion. The CRS also highlighted the Indian government’s recent efforts to diversify its procurement of arms, saying: “It is notable that India, while the principal Russian arms customer, has sought to diversify its weapons supplier base, purchasing the Phalcon early warning defence system aircraft in 2004 from Israel and numerous items from France in 2005, in particular six Scorpene diesel attack submarines. In 2008, India purchased six C130J cargo aircraft from the US.”
The CRS further said that India received 57 Hawk jet trainers from the UK for USD 1 billion in 2010 and 12 AW101 helicopters from Italy in 2010. Later in 2011, France signed a USD 2.4 billion contract with India for upgrading 51 Mirage-2000 combat fighters. “This pattern of Indian arms purchases indicates that Russia will likely face strong new competition from other major weapons suppliers for the India arms market, and it can no longer be assured that India will consistently purchase its major combat systems,” added the CRS.
Meanwhile, the Congress Research report has claimed that Saudi Arabia emerged as the largest importer of Pakistani arms, as Riyadh purchased small and medium conventional weaponry worth millions of US dollar from Pakistan. Chairman of Pakistan Ordinance Factories (POF) Lieutenant General Omar Mahmood Hayat, too, confirmed that Islamabad sold huge amount of weapons to Riyadh, stressing: “During the current fiscal year, POF has secured export order worth USD 81 million, and Saudi Arabia remains the biggest importer of arms and ammunition from Pakistan.”
Leading Recipients in 2008-15: Saudi Arabia USD 13,000; India USD 11,100; Pakistan USD 7,200; Algeria USD 5,500; Egypt USD 5,000; South Korea USD 4,500; China USD 4,100; Venezuela USD 4,100; Israel USD 4,000; The UAE USD 3,700.

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