For the first time, four Indian arms manufacturing companies – all public sector units, including two from Bengaluru have found a place in the list of world’s top 100 arms manufactures. A report from a Stockholm-based institute that tracks arms trade around the world revealed.
Notwithstanding their inclusion and a 6% growth in sales from the previous year, the total volume of Indian arms sale remains less than 2% of the global arms sale – an indication of India’s poor export performance at the international arena.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has clubbed India with Brazil and Turkey in the category of emerging producers.
The combined sales of the seven companies based in these three countries were $ 11.1 billion in 2017 —an increase of 8.1% compared to the previous year.
India is the largest producer with three defence PSUs and Indian Ordnance Factory Board selling military equipment worth $ 7.5 billion to the three Services.
The minuscule Indian share in the global pie is a contrast to the Narendra Modi-government’s claims of turning India into a defence manufacturing hub.
In the last four and half years, the government claimed to have taken multiple policy initiatives to kick-start defence manufacturing in the private sector in a big way. However, almost all such measures are stuck on the papers till now.
The leading Indian defence manufacturers continue to be Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Indian Ordnance Factory Board and Bharat Electronics Limited that figure in the SIPRI top-100 list since 2002.
In 2017, a fourth defence PSU Bharat Dynamics Limited broke into the top-100 with arms sales of $ 880 million. HAL and IOFB are among the top-50 companies since 2002.
“All four companies are state-owned and are almost entirely dependent on domestic demand. There was a marginal decrease in Hindustan Aeronautics’ total arms sales, while the totals of the other three companies each rose by approximately 10%,” says the SIPRI report.
US companies dominate the global market capturing 57% of the share followed by Russia (9.5%), UK (9%) and France (5.3%).
Lockheed Martin remained the world’s largest arms producer in 2017, with arms sales of $ 44.9 billion. “The gap between Lockheed Martin and Boeing—the two largest arms producers in the world—increased from $ 11 billion in 2016 to $ 18 billion in 2017,” said Aude Fleurant, director of SIPRI’s arms and military expenditure programme in the report.