India becomes top arms importer.

Indian Air Force personnel attend the induction of the C-130J-30…

Indian Air Force personnel attend the induction of the C-130J-30 Super Hercules Aircraft during a ceremony at Hindan Air Force Station in Uttar Pradesh, Feb 5, 2011. Image: Reuters

According to a new SIPRI report, that increase is on the rise.

According to its data the average volume of worldwide arms transfers during the four years between 2006 and 2010 was 24 percent higher than during the previous four years.

The Asia-Pacific region received the most arms imports, 43 percent of the total.

All four of the largest importers of conventional weapons were in Asia: India, China, South Korea, and Pakistan.

India topped China as the largest single arms importer. Between 2006 and 2010 it received almost 10 percent of the total volume of international transfers of “major conventional weapons”.

Mark Bromley, a senior researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, says India spent just under $40 billion on defense in 2009 in order to modernize its armed forces and protect itself against perceived regional threats, namely from China and Pakistan.

“India is in the midst of a very ambitious re-armament program. It is devoting large sums of money to the acquisition of a range of military equipment from abroad, most notably fighter aircraft but also naval systems and a number of other types of equipment and that looks set to continue.”

Source: Selah Hennessy for Voice of America.

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