IAF has acquired precision guided munition from Israel to strike terror camps located in Pakistan

India was the world’s second-largest importer of arms and weapons during 2015-2019, according to a report from Swedish-based think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI

Saudi Arabia ranked as the top arms importer.

Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia and China accounted for 36% of all arms imports over that five-year period.

However, while Russia remained India’s most important source of arms, Moscow’s share of the Indian weapons market has dropped from 72% to 56% since the 2010-2014 period.

Still, India accounted for 25% of all Russian arms exports.

After Russia, Israel (14%) and France (12%) were the top sources of weapons for India.

The U.S. was India’s second-largest arms supplier during 2010-14 as security ties between the two huge countries grew into a strategic partnership. “However, in 2015-19 India continued with its policy of supplier diversification, and imports of arms from the U.S. were 51 % lower than in 2010-14,” the report said.

India has received a bewildering and diverse array of military equipment from many sources, including Scanter-6000 naval surveillance radar from Denmark; Embraer ERJ-145 jets for early warning and control system from Brazil; ACTAS sonar systems from Germany; Super Rapid 76-mm naval guns from Italy; and K-9 Thunder 155- mm artillery guns from South Korea.

Still, overall arms imports by India and Pakistan declined by 32% and 39%, respectively, between 2010-14 and 2015-19.

“While both countries have long-standing aims to produce their [own] major arms, they remain largely dependent on imports and have substantial outstanding orders and plans for imports of all types of major arms,” the SPIRI report said.

The report also ranked India as the world’s 23rd largest arms exporter – her biggest clients were Myanmar, which accounted for 46% of Indian arms exports, Sri Lanka at 25% and Mauritius at 14%.

India seeks to increase its defence exports to $5 billion within five years.

Sébastien Roblin wrote in National Interest that while India would like to buy more weapons from Russia, the Americans would like to cut in on some of this business.

For example, the Indian Air Force is facing the imminent obsolescence of aging Russian MiG-21 and MiG-27 jets, and will need to replace their fleet. As such, New Delhi is considering the purchase of jet fighters like the Dassault Rafale of France, Saab JAS 39 Gripen of Sweden, and the Lockheed F-21 or Boeing Super Hornet of the U.S.

However, as India seeks to buy arms from Moscow some of those transactions may run afoul of CAATSA — Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act – a U.S. government measure from 2017 designed against Iran, North Korea, and Russia.

Nonetheless, India is planning to buy five regiments of Russia’s S-400 surface-to-air missiles for a total price of $5.43 billion – to be paid in euros as a means of bypassing CAATSA sanctions. In 2019, India made a down payment of $800 million on the deal, while initial deliveries are scheduled to arrive in October 2020. (U.S. has already complained to India about this purchase).

India selected the S-400 over the U.S. Patriot or THAADS anti-ballistic systems because the S-400 can threaten aircraft up to 250 miles away (while the U.S. systems are effective across a smaller distance).

“Russia has lost traction in India – the main long-term recipient of Russian major arms – which has led to a sharp decline in arms exports,” said SIPRI researcher Alexandra Kuimova.

“India’s obsessive spending in its defence capabilities have long benefited global military industrial complex,” said an op-ed in Eurasia Review. “In addition to its increasing dependency on foreign weapons, India has also geared up its domestic weapons production capabilities which have considerably fuelled regional tensions. It’s hard to turn a blind eye on the regional ramifications of overwhelming influx of latest weapons to India given its territorial disputes and long animosity with Pakistan. This unchecked weapons accumulation by India has considerable impact on Pakistan’s security calculus.”