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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 August 2005, 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK
India tops weapons purchase table
Indian soldier on T-55 tank
India agreed $15.7bn in arms purchases from 1997 to 2004
India was the leading buyer of conventional arms among developing nations in 2004, a report for the US Congress says.

The Congressional Research Service said Delhi agreed the transfer of $5.7bn in weapons, ahead of China.

India was also the leading developing world purchaser over the 1997-2004 period covered in the report, sealing 10% of all such arms agreements.

The US remains the largest supplier - delivering $9.6bn of arms in 2004.

'Restraint'

The Congressional Research Service report, released this week, listed India and China as by far the heaviest buyers.

Just as we exercise restraint in our own transfers, we encourage restraint by other countries
Sean McCormack,
US State Department

India negotiated $15.7bn in agreed transfers of conventional weapons between 1997 and 2004 to top the list.

China overtook India for the period 2001-2004 on the back of a big increase in defence budget, but India was back on top for 2004 alone.

Overall global sales in 2004 were the highest since 2000. A total of $37bn in arms sales in both industrial and developing nations was concluded.

The US had 33.5% of all contracts last year, ahead of Russia and Britain.

The annual Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations report is thought to be the most comprehensive on global weapons sales.

The weapons sales include tanks, submarines, combat aircraft, missiles and ammunition.

US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack insisted its arms transfers were carried out under "a very rigorous set of rules and regulations and laws".

"Just as we exercise restraint in our own transfers, we encourage restraint by other countries," he said.


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