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India hikes defense budget, is now world's largest arms importer

India hikes defense budget, is now world's largest arms importer

India is now world’s largest arms importer, receiving 9 per cent of the volume of international arms transfers during 2006–11 according to The Stockholm International Peace Research Insititute (SIPRI). While 82 percent of these shipments came from Russia, and while Russia remains a major supplier for the future, American companies have won several multi-billion dollar contracts in recent years.

The four largest importers of weapons in 2006–10 are located in Asia: India (9 per cent of all imports), China (6 per cent), South Korea (6 per cent) and Pakistan (5 per cent). These states have imported, and will continue to take delivery of, a range of major conventional weapons, in particular combat aircraft and naval systems. SIPRI says that the United States  remains the world’s largest exporter of military equipment, accounting for 30 per cent of global arms exports in 2006–10.

India hiked its total defence budget by 11.6% for the year ending March 31, 2012 to $36 billion. The portion allocated to capital equipment is $15 billion; but the Finance Ministry has assured additonal funds if needed. The Indian Army has been granted $14 billion, Indian Navy $2.3 billion, Indian Air Force (IAF) $3.5 billion and Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) $1.3 billion. Out of the $15 billion capital outlay, the Army got $4.2 billion, Navy $1.3 billion, Naval Fleet $1.6 billion and Air Force $6.8 billion.

Takeaway: It is easy to understand why Washington wants American companies to get “their fare share” of India’s largesse. Commerce, State, Defense and the White House continue to pressure India in the direction of American products and services.

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