Where is India in the world of arms makers?

Where is India in the world of arms makers?


NEW DELHI: The world’s 100 biggest arms-producing and military services companies saw a turnover of $420 billion in 2018, a 5% increase over the previous year, according to a report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (


) on Monday.

GUNS AND DOLLARSNew data from SIPRI’s Arms Industry Database shows that sales of arms and military services by companies listed in the top 100 have increased by 47% since 2002. The database excludes Chinese companies due to the lack of data to make a reliable estimate. Eighty of the 100 top arms producers in 2018 were based in the US, Europe and Russia. Of the remaining 20, 6 were based in Japan, 3 in Israel, India and South Korea, respectively, 2 in Turkey and 1 each in Australia, Canada and Singapore, the report said.

THE BIG GUNSUS manufacturers were the biggest sellers with a turnover of $246 billion, 59% of the market. The US firm Lockheed Martin continues to be the world’s largest arms maker (since 2009) with a turnover of $47.3 billion, which is 11% of the world market. Trump administration’s decision to reinforce its position against China and Russia has come as a big boost to US companies.

According to the report, for the first time since 2002, the top five spots in the ranking are held exclusively by arms companies based in the US: Lockheed Martin is followed by Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics. These five companies alone accounted for $148 billion and 35% of total top 100 arms sales in 2018.

Russia comes a distant second with 8.6% of the market. The combined arms sales of the 10 Russian companies in the 2018 ranking were $36.2 billion—a marginal decrease of 0.4 per cent on 2017.

Russia was followed by the United Kingdom at 8.4% and France at 5.5%. The study did not include China due to insufficient data, though SIPRI estimates that there were 3 to 7 Chinese businesses in the top 100 arms manufacturers.

DESI GUNSThree Indian state-owned companies that figure among the world’s 100 top arms suppliers — Hindustan Aeronautics (ranked 38th), Indian Ordnance Factories (56) and Bharat Electronics (62) — with combined arms sales of $5.9 billion (a decrease of 6.9% from 2017) accounted for just 1.4% of the total top 100 arms sales.

“All three are state-owned and are almost entirely dependent on domestic demand. Arms sales by Hindustan Aeronautics and Bharat Electronics increased in 2018—by 3.5 and 5.9 per cent, respectively. However, these increases were offset by a 27% fall in the arms sales of Indian Ordnance Factories…The decrease was because of a reduction in orders from the Indian Army,” the report said.

On the other hand, arms purchase by India helped French manufacturer Dassault Aviation Groupe (ranked 34th) post a sharp increase of 30% in arms sales to $2.9 billion.

JAPAN, ISRAEL, SOUTH KOREA AND TURKEYThe combined arms sales of the six Japanese companies remained relatively stable in 2018. At $9.9 billion, they accounted for 2.4% of the top 100 total, it said.

The three Israeli companies’ arms sales of $8.7 billion accounted for 2.1% of the top 100 total. Elbit Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael all increased their arms sales in 2018, the report said.

The three companies based in South Korea had combined arms sales of $5.2 billion in 2018, equivalent to 1.2% of the top 100 total.

Arms sales by Turkish companies listed in the top 100 increased by 22% in 2018, to $2.8 billion. Turkey aims to develop and modernise its arms industry and Turkish companies continued to benefit from these efforts in 2018.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR INDIAThe lack of defence manufacturing coupled with India’s position as the world’s second-largest arms importer (behind Saudi Arabia) reinforces the persisting failure to build strong indigenous defence industrial base, which can make the country strategically vulnerable if supplies are choked in times of conflict.


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