IMPORTS OF WEAPON
India is world’s largest weapon importer, with over $6 billion spent on arm imports , which accounts to nearly 15% of total global imports! “India’s imports were three times larger than those of either of its regional rivals China and Pakistan. This contrasts with 2005–2009 when India’s imports were 23 per cent below China’s and just over double those of Pakistan,” The SIPRI report said.
In the period 2010–14, which is the basis of the latest report, Russia supplied 70 per cent of India’s arms imports, the USA 12 per cent and Israel 7 per cent. Acquisitions from the US are a break with the recent past. During the period studied by SIPRI, India procured fighter jets and Mi-17-V5 helicopters from Russia; specialised transport planes, the C-130-J Super Hercules and the C-17 Globemaster from the US; UAV’s and radars from Israel.
60 billion dollars worth arms purchases have been cleared since Narendra Modi assumed power mid-2014. Compare that with the $94 billion that India spent on primary education in the whole of the last decade. The PM also decided to spend $150 billion to modernise the military by 2027.
“India wants more sophistication and has the money… Countries are falling over themselves to transfer technology to India,” Jon Grevatt, an Asia-Pacific defense-industry analyst. The government signed a $3 billion deal in October, 2015 with Boeing and the US government to buy 22 Apache and 15 Chinook helicopters. The first of the 37 heavy-lift, attack helicopters are expected by 2018-19.
In the last decade or so, American companies have bagged $10 billion worth defence contracts from India, making the country the second-largest buyer of American weapons. The United States is pushing hard to make more sales to India. Meanwhile, in the spring of 2015, France proposed a major deal to sell 36 fighter jets to India.
Contrary to all multi-billion $ arms import deals, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put emphasis on our country becoming a major player in the global arms export market itself. So far, efforts to manufacture high-end major weapons systems, like aircraft and warships, have been unsuccessful. Joint production partnerships could provide the answer.
India’s government is committed to obtaining more arms to balance the armed forces of neighbouring China and Pakistan. Recalling former Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri’s famous slogan of “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan”, Modi noted that India achieved self-sufficiency in food grains in the last 50 years and called upon similar replication in indigenous weaponry.
Coming up at 610 acres at Bidarehallikaval village, 125 km from Bengaluru, the new facility, which will entail investment of approximately Rs.4,000 crore, will manufacture up to 10 classes of helicopters including Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) and Naval Multi-Role Helicopters (NMRH).
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