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India ranks second in arms-transfer agreements with US: CRS Report

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WASHINGTON (PTI): India ranked second in arms transfer agreements with US during 2006-2009 period, while Saudi Arabia is the leading developing world arms purchaser from 2002-2009, an independent bi-partisan Congressional report has said.

In its latest report, "Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2002-2009", Congressional Research Service (CRS) said that Saudi Arabia was the leading developing world arms purchaser from 2002-2009, making arms transfer agreements totalling USD 39.9 billion during these years.

CRS is the independent bi-partisan research wing of the US Congress, which prepares periodic reports on various issues for Congressmen. The CRS said in the 2002-2005 period, India ranked first in arms transfer agreements at USD 15.3 billion.

From 2006-2009, Saudi Arabia ranked first in arms transfer agreements, with a substantial increase to USD 29.5 billion from USD 15.3 billion in the earlier 2002-2005 period.

"These increases reflect the military modernisation efforts by both Saudi Arabia and India, underway since the 1990s," the CRS told lawmakers adding that the total value of all arms transfer agreements with developing nations from 2002-2009 was USD 262.3 billion.

Thus, Saudi Arabia alone accounted for 15.2 per cent of all developing-world arms-transfer agreements during these eight years. In the most recent period, 2006-2009, Saudi Arabia made USD 29.5 billion in arms transfer agreements.

This total constituted 17.2 per cent of all arms transfer agreements with developing nations during these four years (USD 171.5 billion).

India ranked second in arms transfer agreements during 2006-2009 with USD 17.1 billion (in current dollars), or about 10 per cent of the value of all developing world arms-transfer agreements, the report said.

CRS told Congressmen that India, while the principal Russian arms customer, has begun to diversify its weapons supplier base, purchasing the Phalcon early warning defense system aircraft in 2004 from Israel and numerous items from France in 2005, in particular 6 Scorpene diesel attack submarines.

In 2008, India purchased 6 C130J cargo aircraft from the US. This pattern of Indian arms purchases indicates that it is likely that Russian will face strong new competition from other major weapons suppliers for the India arms market, the report said.

According to CRS, Asia has traditionally been the second largest developing-world arms market. In 2006-2009, Asia ranked second, accounting for 34 per cent of the total value of all arms transfer agreements with developing nations (USD 59.8 billion).

Yet, in the earlier period, 2002-2005, the Asia region ranked first, accounting for 48.7.6 per cent of all such agreements (USD 45.2 billion).

In the earlier period (2002-2005), Russia ranked first in the value of arms transfer agreements with Asia with 39.8 per cent (USD 18 billion).

US ranked second with 16.9 per cent (USD 7.6 billion).

The major West European suppliers, as a group, made 21.7 per cent of this region's agreements in 2002-2005.

In the later period (2006-2009), Russia ranked first in Asian agreements with 29.6 per cent (USD 17.7 billion), primarily due to major combat aircraft and naval system sales to India and China.

US ranked second with 28.1 per cent (USD 16.8 billion in current dollars). The major West European suppliers, as a group, made 14.9 per cent of this region's agreements in 2006-2009, the report said.

Brazil ranked first among all developing world recipients in the value of arms transfer agreements in 2009, concluding USD 7.2 billion in such agreements.

Venezuela ranked second in agreements with USD 6.4 billion. Saudi Arabia ranked third with USD 4.3 billion in agreements.

CRS said Saudi Arabia was the leading recipient of arms deliveries among developing world recipients in 2009, receiving USD 2.7 billion in such deliveries.

China ranked second in arms deliveries in 2009 with USD 1.5 billion. South Korea ranked third with USD 1.4 billion.

India was ranked fifth with USD 1.2 billion.

Arms deliveries to the top ten developing nation recipients, as a group, were valued at USD 12.9 billion, or 75.9 per cent of all arms deliveries to developing nations in 2009. Five of these top ten recipients were in the Near East; four were in Asia; one was in Latin America.

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