The global- think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) recently released a data that said India continues to remain the world’s largest arms importer (it took over China in 2012).
The data, which was collected during the time frame of 2011-2015, revealed that India accounts for a total of 14 percent of the global imports.
However, this also shows the country’s enduring failure to build a strong domestic Defence Industrial base (DIB).
Further, India’s arms exports jumped by nearly 90 percent between 2006-2010 and 2011-2015.
Explaining the reason behind the increase in arms import, SIPRI said, ” A major reason for the high-level of imports is that the Indian arms industry has so far largely failed to produce competitive indigenously-designed weapons.”
The report further states that India’s arms import have remained three times greater than that of China and Pakistan.
It was also noted that India’s biggest arms suppliers are Russia, the US, Israel and France.
The second in the list of global arms importers was China, who imports 4.7 percent, closely followed by Australia with 3.6 percent, Pakistan 3.3 percent, Vietnam 2.9 percent and South Korea 2.6 percent.
Before India, China used to be the top importer, but over the decades, the country has gradually developed a stronger DIB.
Further, China has now emerged as the world’s third largest arms exporter with only the US and Russia being ahead of it.
According to a recent report, India spent over $120 billion on arms acquisitions over the past 15 years, with the majority of that amount being spent on foreign suppliers.
Further, India is expected to spend even more on arms in the coming decade.
Since Modi government came to power in May 2014, they have launched a major “Make in India” drive to improve India’s domestic and local sector, but it seems that the initiative has not translated into anything concrete when it comes to the defence sector.
Looking at the seriousness of not having a strong DIB, Defence minister Manohar Parrikar has already warned the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and its 50 labs as well as the five defence PSUs, four shipyards and 39 ordnance factories to improve their performance in the coming time and get India at the level where they are ready to compete with the private sector in the defence production arena.
Parrikar also hopes that the new Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) will in coming months start giving top priority to a new indigenous design, development and manufacturing (IDDM) category under “Buy Indian”, which in turn will help India’s indigenous DIB.