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In the last five years, Russian and Chinese arms exports have witnessed a significant decline in their global market share. This shift in the global arms trade landscape has provided India with a unique opportunity to position its own weapons systems in key African and Middle Eastern arms markets.

Russia’s dip in weapons exports can largely be attributed to the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, which has strained its international standing. On the other hand, China has seen its global market share shrink from 5.6 per cent to 5.2 per cent. The decline in demand for Chinese weaponry is due to several factors, including the perception that Chinese-made weapons are technologically inferior and largely untested on the battlefield.

Many African nations that were early adopters of Chinese weaponry are now seeking to transition away from Chinese arms. Their decision is influenced by concerns about the poor quality of Chinese weapons, inadequate after-sales support, and hidden costs associated with Chinese offers of credit.

India has emerged as a compelling alternative for countries seeking to diversify their sources of arms procurement. India offers a strategic balance between Russia and China and provides weaponry that combines acceptable quality with lower unit costs, without hidden charges. Recent orders from Armenia for India’s Pinaka Rocket system and ATAGS Guns highlight India’s growing appeal in African and Middle Eastern arms markets.

Several countries, including Nigeria, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, have expressed interest in Indian rockets and artillery systems. Negotiations are underway with these interested nations, as they eye India’s reliable and cost-effective weapon systems. To facilitate these arms deals, India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has taken proactive steps. It has offered a Line of Credit to potential buyers and deployed Additional Defense Attaches in African and Middle Eastern countries to promote Indian arms sales in these markets.

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