India is now the world’s largest buyer of weapons, accounting for 14 percent of global arms imports, almost three times as many as China, according to The Washington Post.
Over the next seven years, India is likely to spend more than $130 billion importing arms, officials say, to upgrade its understocked, Soviet-era arsenal with modern weapon systems.
The United States has surpassed Moscow as India’s biggest arms supplier. In the past three years, India spent nearly $14 billion importing weapons, of which more than $5 billion worth were purchased from the United States. Russia was a close second, with a little more than $4 billion in arms sales to India.
India’s military modernization can generate billions of dollars worth of business for American companies, but it also helps strengthen the nation’s strategic role in the region — at a time when the Indian and US militaries are conducting more and more joint exercises.
The massive buying spree coincides with India’s growing border tensions with China and Pakistan, and the approaching drawdown of international forces from Afghanistan this year.
Analysts say that closer defense ties between India and the United States are a key part of what both countries hope will be an improved relationship, and what President Obama has called “the defining partnership of the 21st century.”