New Delhi, March 18: China is the fifth largest exporter of conventional weapons and India is the largest importer, according to statistics released today by the global arms transfers watchdog Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
China has displaced the UK in the list of SIPRI’s top five arms exporters in the five years from 2008 to 2012. The top four are the US, Russia, Germany and France.
China accounted for 5 per cent of global arms exports and its major customer is Pakistan.
“China’s rise has been driven primarily by large-scale arms acquisitions by Pakistan,” said Paul Holtom, director of the SIPRI arms transfers programme.
“However, a number of recent deals indicate that China is establishing itself as a significant arms supplier to a growing number of important recipient states,” Holtom said.
In the same period (2008-2012), India — whose government claims that indigenisation of the defence procurement is a top priority — was the top importer of major conventional weapons, with 12 per cent of global arms imports.
China is also the second largest importer of weapons, followed by Pakistan, South Korea and Singapore.
SIPRI said Asia accounted for almost half (47 per cent) of global imports of major conventional weapons.
The rise of Asia as the global arms importer coincides with the decline of deliveries to European countries by 20 per cent between 2003-2007 and 2008-2012.
“European states seem eager to abandon or reduce a range of arms import plans,” a SIPRI statement said.