Report claims Islamabad’s primary suppliers were China, Italy and Turkey
Pakistan has emerged as the 11th largest arms importer in the world, according to a report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which found that neighboring India was the second largest arms importer during the five-year period of 2015-19.
The Swedish-based institute, which is dedicated to research on conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament—reported that data showed that between 2010-14 and 2015-19, arms imports by India and Pakistan had decreased by 32 percent and 39 percent, respectively. The overall decrease in Pakistan’s imports was linked to the U.S. decision to stop military aid to Pakistan; in 2010-14, the U.S. accounted for 30 percent of Pakistan’s arms imports while in 2015-19, it accounted for only 4.1 percent.
“As in previous years, in 2019 India and Pakistan—which are nuclear-armed states—attacked each other using an array of imported major arms,” said Siemon T. Wezeman, a senior researcher at SIPRI. “Many of the world’s largest arms exporters have supplied these two states for decades, often exporting arms to both sides,” he said.
It said that while both countries aimed at domestic production of arms and ammunition, they remained largely dependent on imports and had substantial outstanding orders and plans for imports of all types of major arms.
The report said the French industry had profited off India’s arms imports. “The French arms industry has benefited from the demand for arms in Egypt, Qatar and India,” said Diego Lopes Da Silva, SIPRI researcher.
According to SIPRI, skirmishes between India and Pakistan intensified in early 2019. Pakistan reportedly used combat aircraft imported from China, equipped with Russian engines, and combat aircraft from the United States supported by airborne early warning and control aircraft from Sweden.
India, meanwhile, reportedly used combat aircraft imported from France and Russia, guided bombs from Israel and artillery from Sweden.
The SIPRI report said China—the fifth largest exporter of weapons in the world—was responsible for 51 percent of Pakistan’s arm imports in 2010-14 and for 73 percent in 2015-19.
Pakistan continued to import arms from European states in 2015-19 and also strengthened its import relations with Turkey with orders for 30 combat helicopters and four frigates in 2018, according to SIPRI. The institute also noted that Pakistan was among the top three buyers of arms from Italy and Turkey.
Pakistan had a 7.5 percent share in arms imports from Italy in 2015-19, and 12 percent share in Turkish arms over the same period.