Saudi Arabia Topples India As Biggest Defense Importer For 2014

  • Our Bureau
  • 01:06 PM, March 9, 2015
  • 3070

Saudi Arabia has overtaken India to become the world's biggest weapons importer in 2014, research company IHS said on Sunday.

Saudi imports rose by 54 per cent between 2013 and 2014, and based on planned deliveries imports will grow 52 per cent to $9.8 billion in 2015, IHS said, without stating the 2014 sales.

According to the Report, Saudi Arabia spent over $6.4 billion on defense purchases in 2014. India’s spending stood at $5.57 billion.

China has now become the third largest importer, up from fifth place last year. “China continues to require military aerospace assistance from Russia and its total defense procurement budget will continue to rise very quickly,” said Paul Burton, IHS director of defense industry and budgets.

The growth in Saudi supplies was due to expanding demand from emerging economies for military aircraft and rising tensions in the Middle East and Asia Pacific, IHS reported.

Saudi Arabia and UAE together imported US$8.6 billion in defense systems in 2014, more than the imports of Western Europe combined. The biggest beneficiary of the strong Middle Eastern market remains the US, with $8.4 billion worth of Middle Eastern exports in 2014.

The second tiers of exporters to the Middle East are the United Kingdom with $1.9 billion, the Russian Federation with $1.5 billion, and France with $1.3 billion and Germany with $1 billion.

“The Middle East is the biggest regional market and there are $110 billion in opportunities in coming decade.”he added.

Though Saudi Arabia does not officially release military expenditure figures, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute had last year claimed that Riyadh had spent $67 billion in 2013 including current and on-going procurement programs.

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