India has spent US$80 billion to modernize its military to keep up with China and now, India has become the world’s number one arms importer according to Swedish think-tank keeping tabs on global arms transactions. India makes up 9 percent of global arms purchases while China has 6 percent of market share in comparison.
"India has ambitions to become first a continental and [then] a regional power," Rahul Bedi, an analyst with London-based Jane's Defence Weekly, told AP.
"Just from what they have already ordered, we know that in the coming few years India will be the top importer," said Siemon Wezeman, a senior fellow at SIPRI told the International Business Times.
SIPRI’s report stated India’s defense budget for the coming fiscal year is in the region of $32.5 billion, 40 percent more than in 2009. In addition, India will spend over $50 billion in the next five years to modernize its military – including purchasing new fighter jets and aircraft carriers.
"The kind of purchases that India is buying, no country in the world buys,” added Bedi of Jane's Defence Weekly. India has also been importing 82 percent of its weapons from Russia and plans to purchase 250 to 300 advanced fifth-generation stealth fighter jets worth $30 billion in the next decade.
SIPRI also included in its report:
- Average volume of global arms transfers in 2006-2010 increased 24 percent from 2001-2005.
- Asia and Oceania accounts for 43 percent of arms imports, Europe for 12 percent, 17 percent in the Middle East, 12 percent in the Americas and 7 percent in Africa.
- The largest arms importers are locate in Asia with India accounting for 9 percent of all imports, 6 percent in China, 6 percent in South Korea and 5 percent in Pakistan.
- USA remains the world’s largest exporter of military equipment and totals 30 percent of global arms exports in 2006-2010; of which 44 percent were exported to Asia and Oceania, 28 percent in the Middle East and 19 percent to Europe.