Arms sales of top Indian firms drop 6.9%, reveals Sipri report
The combined sales of three Indian companies that figure among the world’s 100 top arms suppliers stood at $5.9 billion in 2018, a drop of 6.9% compared to the previous year, according to the latest data released by a leading Stockholm-based think-tank that tracks the weapons industry.
The sales fell during the one-year period because of fewer orders from the Indian armed forces, showed the figures published on Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).
The three Indian companies on Sipri’s list of top 100 global arms firms are Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the Indian Ordnance Factories and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL); their global ranks last year stood at 38, 56 and 62 respectively. They accounted for 1.4% of the arms sales of the top 100 companies. “All three are state-owned and are dependent on domestic demand. Arms sales by Hindustan Aeronautics and Bharat Electronics increased in 2018 — by 3.5 and 5.9% -- respectively. However, these were offset by a 27% fall in the arms sales of Indian Ordnance Factories,” the report said.
“The data indicates that the funds spent on capital programmes by the Indian military, which is the captive customer of these three companies, has come down,” said Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (retd), additional director general, Centre for Air Power Studies. The overall sales of the defence sector’s top 100 companies totalled $420 billion in 2018, an increase of 4.6%. The top 100 firms exclude Chinese companies “due to the lack of data to make a reliable estimate”.
Figures show that the US continues to dominate the defence sector, with the top five spots held by American arms giants -- Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and General Dynamics. “These accounted for $148 billion and 35% of arms sales in 2018 by the top 100 companies. The total sales of US companies in the ranking amounted to $246 billion, equivalent to 59% of all arms sales. This is an increase of 7.2% compared with 2017,” the report said. Eighty of the top arms producers in 2018 were based in the US, Russia and Europe.
The combined arms sales of the 10 Russian companies stood at $36.2 billion in 2018, a decrease of 0.4% over the previous year. The Russian share in the total sales dipped from 9.7% in 2017 to 8.6% in 2018. “Arms sales by Almaz-Antey, the largest arms producer in Russia, continued to grow in 2018. This increase was due not only to domestic demand, but also to growth in sales to other countries, particularly of the S-400 air defence system,” said Alexandra Kuimova, a researcher for Sipri’s arms and military expenditure programme.
In October 2018, India ordered five advanced S-400 missile systems worth ~39,000 crore. Arms sales by UK-based companies fell 4.8% to $35.1 billion but were the highest in Europe. At $23.2 billion, the sales of French companies were the second-highest in Europe. “The growth in arms sales of the six French companies in the list was mainly the result of a 30% increase in sales by Dassault Aviation,” said Diego Lopes da Silva, also a researcher for Sipri’s arms and military expenditure programme. India ordered 36 Rafale jets from France in September 2016 which are expected to arrive by September 2022.