After almost a decade, India has slipped to the second spot among the arms importing countries of the world.
With 12% share of the global arms trade, Saudi Arabia now tops the list of importers eclipsing India, which now occupies the second spot in the list with a share of 9.5%, according to the latest report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) that keeps a tab on the arms trade around the world.
India's sliding down between 2009-13 and 2014-18 is due to delays in the deliveries of arms produced under license from foreign suppliers, such as (Su-30MKI) combat aircraft ordered from Russia in 2001 and (Scorpene) submarines ordered from France in 2008, says the report.
In the lucrative Indian arms market, Moscow's share dropped to 58% in 2014–18 as compared with 76% contribution from the communist country in 2009–13. While Russian exports fell by 42%, Israel, the USA and France increased their exports in the same period.
The world's top five arms importers are Saudi Arab, India, Egypt, Australia and Algeria. Taken together they account for 35% of the global arms import.
The SIPRI report also notes rise of China as arms supplier with the communist country occupying the sixth spot in the list of top arms exporting nations headed by USA and Russia.
Two of China's biggest clients are Pakistan and Bangladesh that account for 37% and 16% of the Red Dragon's total arms export respectively.
“In 2014–18 China delivered major arms to 53 countries, compared with 41 in 2009–13 and 32 in 2004–2008. Pakistan was the main recipient (37%) in 2014–18, as it has been for all five-year periods since 1991,” it observes.
Chinese exports are limited by the fact that four of the top 10 arms importers - India, Australia, South Korea and Vietnam - will not procure Chinese arms for political reasons.
Nonetheless, improvements in Chinese military technology opened up opportunities for arms export growth, including exports to new customers.
In 2014–18 China became the largest exporter in the niche market of unmanned combat aerial vehicles with states in the Middle East among the main recipients, says the SIPRI report.