India's arms imports declined 33 % between 2011-15 and 2016-20, a report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a defence think-tank, said on Monday, March 15.
The report comes at a time when India is taking initiatives to reduce the dependence of its armed forces on foreign-made arms and equipment.
"The drop in Indian arms imports seems to have been mainly due to its complex procurement processes, combined with an attempt to reduce its dependence on Russian arms. India is planning large-scale arms imports in the coming years from several suppliers," the report says.
The Indian government has introduced a policy targeting defence exports worth Rs 35,000 crore by 2025 and doubling its domestic procurement from Indian manufacturers. The share of domestic procurement in the total defence procurement is about 60 per cent.
Last year, the government had announced a negative imports list of 101 defence equipment and platforms.
The 33 per cent drop in arms imports between 2011-15 and 2016-20 hit Russia the hardest.
As per the report, India's imports of US arms also declined by 46 per cent and Pakistan and Bangladesh continue to buy the bulk of Chinese manufactured arms.
"Exports by China, the world's fifth-largest arms exporter in 201620, decreased by 7.8 per cent between 2011-15 and 2016-20. Chinese arms exports accounted for 5.2 per cent of total arms exports in 201620. Pakistan, Bangladesh and Algeria were the largest recipients of Chinese arms," the report added.
Saudi Arabia, the world's largest arms importer, increased its arms imports by 61 per cent and Qatar by 361 per cent.
For the first time since 2001, the volume of deliveries of major arms between countries did not increase in the period between 2011-15 and 2016-20, SIPRI report said.
"International transfers of major arms stayed at the same level between 201115 and 201620. Substantial increases in transfers by three of the top five arms exporters—the USA, France and Germany—were largely offset by declining Russian and Chinese arms exports. Middle Eastern arms imports grew by 25 per cent in the period," it noted.