According to report released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Pakistan was one of the largest major arms importer in Asian region from 2016 to 2020 and ranks 10th in the world with 2.7% imports. The main supplier of Pakistan at that time was China. It contributed 74pc of country’s total import, followed by Russia (6.6pc) and Italy (5.9pc). If we compared to the previous period, there was a 23% drop in arms imports in Pakistan. Meanwhile, the report noted that Pakistan has several large arms orders pending to be completed by 2028. The orders include 50 Fighter Jets, 8 Submarines and 4 Frigates from China and 4 Frigates from Turkey.
In comparison with the neighbouring country, Russia (49pc), France (18pc) and Israel (13pc) were India’s main suppliers during this period. India also recorded a 33pc drop in total imports from 2016-2020 compared to the first five years of this decade. India’s imports came from the United States, which was the country’s second largest arms supplier but fell to fourth after a 46-year drop in exports. During that period, French arms imports increased by 709pc while imports from Israel increased by 82pc.
Reasons behind the importing
“For many countries in Asian region, the growing perception of China as a severe threat is a major driver of importing of arms,” a senior researcher said in Cyprus. Asian and Oceanian are the world’s largest regions for importing of major arms. These regions received 42% of global arms transfers in last five years.
Arms exporting and importing countries
“This is the first time since first five years of decade the volume of basic shipments between all countries has not increased in the past years period,” Sipri said.
Even though the pandemic has shut down economies around the world and plunged many countries into deep recession, several countries are signing major arms agreements that are important even in the midst of the 2020 pandemic. Middle Eastern countries experienced the largest increase in arms imports with 25pc in 2016–2020 compared to 2011–15.
“The United States, France and Germany are the three world’s biggest exporter countries in the world. They have increased supply, but falling exports from Russia and China have offset the surge”, Sipri said.
Exports from world’s fifth-largest exporter People’s Republic of China fell by 7.8 between 2011–2015 and 2016–2020. China’s arms exports reached 5.2pc of the total exports in 2016-2020. Pakistan, Bangladesh and Algeria were the largest recipients of Chinese weapon systems.
The top arms importers during the reporting period were Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia and China. Among them in the five years from 2016 to 2020, Saudi Arabia represents 11pc global imports, India 9.5pc, Egypt 5.8pc, Australia 5.1pc and China 4.7pc. Pakistan contributed only 2.7pc.