The supply of Russian-made weapons, arms and military equipment to India has dropped sharply in the past few years even as Moscow has retained its place as the top supplier to India.
Assessing a five-year period 2016-2020, India was the second largest importer, accounting for 9.5 percent of all sales. A total of 49 percent of New Delhi’s military needs were met by Moscow.
In the previous five-year block ( 2011-2015), India was the largest importer of weapons globally accounting for 14 percent of all sales. Moscow supplied some 70 percent of Indian needs. It means India is reducing dependence on Russia.
These trends have emerged from an annual report released by the Sweden-based think-tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The assessment was done for a five-year period (2016-2020).
Titled ‘Trends in International Arms Transfers-2020, it talks about India had reduced its imports “Between 2011–15 and 2016–20 arms imports by India decreased by 33 per cent”. Read it here
“Russia was the largest arms supplier to India in both 2011–15 and 2016–20. However, Russia’s deliveries dropped by 53 per cent between the two periods and its share of total Indian arms imports fell from 70 to 49 per cent”, The SIPRI report said
Why is India the second largest importer
Despite the reduction of 33 percent in arms imports over two five-year blocks (2011–15 and 2016–20), the overall drop in India’s arms imports seems to be mainly due to its complex and lengthy procurement processes, combined with its attempts to reduce its dependence on Russian arms by diversifying its network of arms suppliers.
Where has Russia equipment gone
With India reducing its imports, Russian exports have dropped. It accounted for 20 percent sales globally, retaining its number two spot as an exporter behind the US
Russian arms exports in 2016–20 were 22 per cent lower than the exports in the previous five year block (2011–15), when Russian arms exports peaked and held 27 per cent of the market.
In 2016–20 Russia delivered major arms to 45 states and India remained the main recipient of Russian arms in 2016–20, accounting for 23 per cent of the total, followed by China (18 per cent) and Algeria (15 per cent).
“Aircraft accounted for 49 per cent of Russian arms exports in 2016–20. These transfers included deliveries of a total of 231 combat aircraft”.
“The overall decrease in Russia’s arms exports between 2011–15 and 2016–20 was almost entirely attributable to a drop in its arms exports to India. This decrease was not offset by large increases in Russia’s arms exports to China”.
Although several large Russian arms deals with India, including for combat aircraft, were completed by 2020, India placed new orders for a variety of Russian arms in 2019–20. The ensuing deliveries will probably lead to an increase in Russian arms exports in the coming five years.
The US share also dropped in India
The US has emerged as the largest exporter globally and has a 37 percent share in exporting arms, weapons and equipment during the five year period 2016-2020. It is jump over the previous five-year block (2011-2015) when the US accounted for a 30 percent share in global exports
During the period 2011-2015 US was the second largest arms supplier to India, but in 2016–20 India’s arms imports from the USA were 46 per cent lower than in the previous five-year period, making the USA the fourth largest supplier to India in 2016–20. France and Israel were the second and third largest arms suppliers to India in 2016–20. India’s arms imports from France increased by 709 per cent while those from Israel rose by 82 per cent. Combat aircraft, the Rafale, and associated missiles made up more than 50 per cent of Indian arms imports in 2016–20.