Representational image: Combat missiles on a launcher (iStock)

INTERNATIONAL arms exports over the five years from 2015 to 2019, grew by 5.5% from the 2010-2014 period, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

However, arms imports by India and Pakistan decreased by 32% and 39% respectively between 2010-14 and 2015-19.

India retained its position as the world’s second largest arms importers during 2015-19, with Russia remaining the largest supplier even though its share of Indian weapons purchases declined from 72% to 56%.

Pakistan was ranked the 11th largest arms importer in the world.

The five largest arms importers were Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia and China, which together accounted for 36% of all arms imports.

Between 2015 and 2019, the US delivered major arms to 96 countries. Half of US arms exports went to the Middle East, and half of that to Saudi Arabia.

The report said that India and Pakistan had used imported weapons in clashes following the 2019 suicide attack in Pulwama by the Jaish-e-Mohammed that killed 40 troopers.

“Pakistan reportedly used combat aircraft imported from China, equipped with Russian engines, and combat aircraft from the US supported by airborne early warning and control aircraft from Sweden. India reportedly used combat aircraft imported from France and Russia, guided bombs from Israel and artillery from Sweden,” it said.

India also acquired military hardware from other countries, including Scanter-6000 radars from Denmark, Embraer ERJ-145 jets for a home-grown airborne early warning and control system, ACTAS sonar systems from Germany, Super Rapid 76mm naval guns from Italy and K-9 Thunder 155mm artillery guns from South Korea.

The report listed India in the 23rd slot among the world’s 25 largest arms exporters, with its main clients being Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Mauritius.

The report said India’s arms imports from both Russia and the US fell during the five-year period.

India accounted for 25% of total Russian arms exports.

“Russia was the largest supplier to India in 2010-14 and 2015-19, but deliveries fell by 47 per cent and its share of total Indian arms imports went from 72 to 56 per cent,” it said.

The US emerged as India’s second-largest arms supplier during 2010-14 as security ties between the two sides developed into a strategic partnership.