Global arms sales: Change is underway

Source: The post is based on the article “Global arms sales: Change is underwaypublished in Business Standard on 29th December 2022. 

Syllabus: GS 3 – Defence 

Relevance: Increasing arms sales of China and India 

News: There has been an increase in arms sales from countries in the Asia-Oceania region in 2021. This article discusses the shifting pattern of countries and a comparison between India and China in arms sales. 

How have Asia-Oceania countries performed in arms sales? 

Arms sales from Asia and Oceania increased by 5.8% surpassing weapons sales from Europe. 

The United States still remains ahead of all the major arms-producing countries and regions. However, China has also seen an increase in its weapons sales in 2021. 

China alone accounted for over 80 percent of the weapons sales in the Asia-Oceania region in 2021. Japan was second with South Korea ranked third and India fourth. 

What are the reasons behind the increasing Chinese arms sales? 

Self-reliance in defence technology: China invested in its defence technology early in the 1950s due to which it is now seeing its benefit and growth. 

The merger of key industries: China merged its Shipbuilding Industry Corporation and China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) into a single entity. This helped consolidation in the Chinese defence industry. 

Other reasons are investments in weapons research and development, reverse engineering, etc. 

How has India performed in arms sales? 

India also saw improvements in its arms sales in 2021.  

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) saw an increase in their arms sales by 6.7% and 20% respectively. However, India lags behind China in arms sales. 

What can be the course of action for India? 

India can either move towards a fully-privatised defence industry like that of the US or towards a defence industrial complex like China. 

Further, the government could break up the two state-run monopolies (HAL and BEL) to boost productivity and competitiveness and consolidate them under a single entity like that of China. 

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