WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S., which remained the largest exporter of military equipment, displaced Russia as India’s biggest arms supplier. In total, the U.S. exported $25.2 billion of military equipment...
India has struggled to create indigenous manufacturing of high-tech weapons systems, and depends on imports in its efforts to catch up with the better-equipped Chinese armed forces. “It is a big capability gap that’s opened between the Indians and the Chinese,” said Moores. “India is buying a lot of high-end equipment from the Americans to address that gap.”
In 2009 India imported $237 million in military equipment from the U.S. but this jumped to $1.9 billion last year, as almost half of its $13.4 billion defense procurement budget went overseas. India accounted for nearly 10 percent of the $63 billion international defense market, outstripping much of the Middle East and China.
Arms trade statistics can be volatile because of deliveries of high-value items such as aircraft. But the latest U.S.-India data, which measures deliveries rather than sales contracts, is significant because other western arms exporters have been unable to clinch deals with New Delhi in the face of periodic corruption scandals, slowing Indian growth and budget constraints.
France’s Dassault, for example, is still waiting for India to finalize a preliminary agreement to buy Rafale fighter jets that could be worth up to $20 billion. AK Antony, India’s defence minister, this month said his ministry had used up most of its budget for the year ending in March and would make no large acquisitions until the next financial year.
“There is no money left,” he said. “All major projects have to wait until April 1.” The Middle East, meanwhile, continued to import military equipment at a rapid pace, and now represents one-third of the global arms market.
Saudi Arabia, Oman and UAE together imported more than western Europe as a whole, buying $9.3 billion-worth of equipment compared with $8.7 billion for the latter. (Courtesy: nbc.com)