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BW Businessworld

Weapons Trade: India World's Number Two Importer

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Saudi Arabia has dislodged India to become the world's top defence importer in 2014, while China inched closer to its Asian neighbour at third position, research company IHS said on Sunday in a report.
US continues to be the top defence exporter followed by Russia, France and Britain, the ranking unchanged from 2013, the information agency said in its annual defence report.
The report examined the defence market across 65 countries. It found that Saudi Arabia spent more than $6.4 billion on weapons, mostly American and European, in 2014, overtaking India on $5.57 billion.
"In 2014, Saudi Arabia replaced India as the largest importer of defence equipment worldwide and took the top spot as the number one trading partner for the US," the IHS report added.
Similarly, China jumped from the world's fifth to the third largest defence importer, the report added.
It also pointed that China was the largest recipient of defence equipments from Russia in 2014 valued at $2.3 billion followed by India at $1.7 billion, and Venezuela and Vietnam each at $1 billion.
In 2014, global defence trade increased for the sixth straight year to $64.4 billion, up from $56.8 billion, IHS added.
"This record figure has been driven by unparallelled demand from the emerging economies for military aircraft and an escalation of regional tensions in the Middle East and Asia Pacific," IHS senior defence analyst Ben Moores said.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) together imported $8.6 billion of defence equipment in 2014, more than the imports of Western Europe combined.
Moores added that "one out of every seven dollars" spent on defence imports in 2015 will be spent by Saudi Arabia. And its imports increased by 54 per cent between 2013 and 2014 and, based on planned deliveries, imports will increase by 52 per cent to $9.8 billion in 2015.
Whereas India slipped to second position, China jumped from the world's fifth to the third largest defence importer.
"China continues to require military aerospace assistance from Russia and its total defence procurement budget will continue to rise very quickly," said Paul Burton, Director of Defence Industry & Budgets at IHS Aerospace, Defence and Security.
Big Weapons Suppliers
Boeing continues to remain the top firm in terms of defence exporters, followed by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.
The US held its position as the top exporter and sold $23.7 billion of arms. Russia sold weapons worth $10 billion.
France was the third biggest exporter at $4.9 billion, followed by Britain's arms sales of $4.1 billion, and Germany at $3.5 billion.
"The biggest beneficiary of the strong Middle Eastern market remains the US, with $8.4 billion worth of Middle Eastern exports in 2014, compared to $6 billion in 2013," the report said.
"A drop-off in exports is forecast for 2015 as major programmes draw to a close, a trend that could be accelerated by sanctions," it added.
"Furthermore, falls in the oil price are set to have a devastating impact on some lead Russian clients who are vulnerable to low oil prices, such as Venezuela and Iran."