Gästinlägg: Why India is the largest importer of weapons from Sweden?

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Mrutyuanjai Mishra har en europeisk magister i mänskliga rättigheter och demokrati. Han är flitig krönikör i dansk media, bl a Jyllandsposten, Indian Times samt även i ”Den Korte Avis”. Han är kommentator i dansk TV där han kommenterar internationella frågor rörande Asien. 

Why India is the largest importer of weapons from Sweden?

During the period from 2001 till 2010, United States of America and Russia remained the two largest weapons exporting countries. During the same period that is from 2001 till 2010, China and India were the two largest importers of conventional weapons. China is in fact, slowing emerging as a weapon producing country while India still primarily imports its conventional weapons from other countries. India´s biggest import is from Russia but India purchases significant amount of weapons from Sweden as well. During the period from 2007 till 2011, India purchased 80% of sophisticated weapons from Russia. During the same period from 2007 till 2011, China imported nearly just half of what India purchased but again most its exports came as well from Russia.

Swedish weapon export fell by 30% in 2012, compared with 2011. A slight decline, but India emerged as the biggest purchaser of weapons from Sweden while Saudi Arabien turned out to be on second place. India is increasingly in fact replacing China now as the largest purchaser of weapons, accounting for almost a tenth of weapons purchased in entire world. Therefore the big question is why India going around buying so many weapons?

The answer to the above question lies in the geo-political reality that India finds itself. Up in the northern front, India has China an emerging economic and military power as its neighbour, that imports less weapons simply because it is able to produce more weapons. China is getting increasingly belligerent and making demands on terrotories from Japan, Korea, India and almost all of its neighbours. In the specific case of India, China regards Tibet and Arunachal pradesh as parts of larger China. In several maps drawn in China, Arunachal Pradesh does not feature as one of the states of India, even though Arunachal Pradesh has been an intrinsic part of India since India´s birth as a nation.

On the western front, India is confronted by the presence of Pakistan which is getting increasingly militarised. Pakistan is the in fact the fastest growing nuclear weapons state. Pakistan may be poor but it has still not stopped producing nuclear weapons and in fact seems to possess more nuclear warheads then India despite the fact that it is smaller in size and population compared to India. Pakistan relatively also uses much more amount of its annual budget on defence then India.

But the worst cause of distress and anxiety on defence front comes from the fact that Pakistan is on the verge of a civil war. Civil war, between the dominant sunnis and shias resulting in one of the worst sectarian violence, since Pakistans inception as a nation, could easily spill over into India. India shares a approximately 2,900 km border with Pakistan, making it a daunting task to guard its borders from infiltrations and attempts at terrorism. In case of civil war, India might also experience a huge refugee influx.

India has in its recent past experienced that a large number of islamic terrorists trained and groomed in Pakistan are sent either by boat, road or foot into Indian territory to inflict maximum damage to property and life. Therefore there is a political consensus to prioritize defence very high in india. Since India has not been able to develop its indigeneous market and production of weapons domestically, i.e, within India, it has no other option then to purchase weapons from abroad.

Co-operation between India and Sweden are at its best at the moment, and if there are no corruption scandals involved, India will keep buying more weapons from Sweden. And as long as the whole region remains destabilized and with the pull out of american troops from Afghanistan in 2014, one can easily forecast that India´s defence budget will not decrease in the near future.

// Mrutyuanjai Mishra

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