India’s voracious appetite for arms

News reports this week that India was Israel’s biggest arms purchaser in 2006 have once again brought into focus the South Asian country’s growing defense requirements.

According to observers, India is expected to make purchases of more than US$10 billion every year over the next decade. Indian Defense Ministry estimates for the 11th Plan show that the country will spend more than $30 billion importing weapons during 2007-12.

“India was Israel’s biggest customer, with purchases reaching US$1.5 billion” in 2006, Major-General Yossi Ben-Hanan, the head of Sibat, the Foreign Defense Assistance and Defense Export Department, has been quoted telling reporters in Jerusalem this week. Israel sold $1 billion worth of defense equipment to the US in the same period.

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