India - the world's largest arms importer ?

India’s emergence as one of the largest arms importers over the last several years has got one more stamp of validation, with a Swedish think-tank holding that it has overtaken even China in this regard. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), in its report to be released on Monday, said India accounted for 9% of all international arms imports between 2006-2010, making it the world’s largest weapons importer. China was relegated to second place, notching 6% of global arms imports, Siemon Wezeman of SIPRI told international news agencies. The US remains the largest arms exporter, followed by Russia and Germany, as per the report. This is not the first time that India has topped such an international list. India has signed arms deals worth $50 bn since the 1999 Kargil conflict .Several mega deals in pipeline, including $10.4 bn project to acquire 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft .Joint Indo-Russian project to develop Sukhoi T-50 fifth-gen fighters will see India spend over $35 bn. China, however, hides more than what it reveals. Beijing’s military expenditure figures as well as its acquisition of advanced weapon systems and platforms remain shrouded behind a thick iron curtain, which global monitors cannot penetrate easily. Unlike India, China has rapidly built a robust domestic defence-industrial base (DIB) over the last couple of decades, which often also revels in reverse-engineering top-of-the-line weapon systems developed by other countries.

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