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Russian Defence Exports to India Down By 42%: Report

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Russia’s arms export to India fell by a whopping 42% between 2014-18 and 2009-2013, according to a new report. Russia still remains India’s biggest defence export market but the US, France and Israel have been making rapid inroads.

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As a result, Russia accounted for 58 per cent of total Indian arms imports in 2014-2018, compared with 76 per cent in 2009-2013, according to the report “Trends in International Arms Transfers, 2018” released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s effort to reduce country’s dependence on foreign arms, India’s import of arms decreased by 24 per cent between 2009-2013 and 2014-2018, according to the figures released by the report.

This decline in India’s import is also partly due to delays in deliveries of arms produced under license from foreign suppliers, such as combat aircraft ordered from Russia in 2001 and submarines ordered from France in 2008.

Still, India was the world’s second largest importer of major arms in 2014-18 and accounted for 9.5 per cent of the global total. Israel, the USA and France all increased their arms exports to India in 2014-18.

Pakistan’s arms imports decreased by 39 per cent between 2009-13 and 2014-18. The US has become increasingly reluctant to provide military aid or sell arms to Pakistan: US arms exports to Pakistan fell by 81 per cent between 2009-13 and 2014-18, it said.

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Pakistan has instead turned to other suppliers. For example, in 2018 it ordered 4 frigates and 30 combat helicopters from Turkey, it added.

The decrease in India’s arms import is significant given that the volume of international transfers of major arms in 2014-18 was 7.8 per cent higher than in 2009-13 and 23 per cent higher than in 2004-2008.

The five largest exporters in 2014-18 were the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China. The five largest importers were Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia and Algeria.

The US was the top arms exporter in 2014-18 and 2009-13. Its exports of major arms grew by 29 per cent between the two periods and its share of total global exports rose from 30 per cent to 36 per cent. As a result, the gap between the USA and Russia – the second largest exporter – continued to widen.

In 2009-13, US exports of major arms were 12 per cent higher than those of Russia, whereas in 2014-18 they were 75 per cent higher.

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Russian exports of major arms decreased by 17 per cent between the same periods.

The fall was partly due to general reductions in Indian and Venezuelan arms imports – two countries that have been among the main recipients of Russian arms exports in previous years, the SIPRI said.

“Although India remained the chief recipient of Russian arms in 2014-18, Russian arms exports to India fell by 42 per cent between 2014-18 and 2009-13. Arms exports to Venezuela, which was the fifth largest recipient of Russian arms in 2009-13, decreased by 96 per cent between the two periods,” it said.

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