In autonomous defense production, China outperforms India by a massive margin, study finds

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China was ranked first in autonomous defense production, while India was ranked fourth among 12 Indo-Pacific countries, according to a study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) , an independent global security research institute.

Japan is second, South Korea is third and Pakistan is eighth, according to the study, which measures autonomy through 2020.

“China tops the rankings, achieving a self-sufficiency score more than two and a half times higher than Japan,” the study said.

The ranking was published after evaluating the defense production of 12 countries, they are: Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

They did not include Vietnam in the final ranking due to lack of data.

The study is based on three indicators.

  • Arms purchases: Imports, licenses, and domestic production as a proportion of total government major conventional arms purchases
  • Arms industry: The research highlights the top five arms companies in each country where data is available, and ranks them by sales of arms and military services in 2020 to domestic and export customers
  • Maritime Unmanned Vehicles, the marine equivalent of drones: covering both Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) and Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs), intended to provide a qualitative understanding of how nations engage research institutes and domestic enterprises to produce such advanced systems.

The research argues that despite trying to reduce imports, India continues to remain dependent on foreign countries for its arms needs. From 2016-20, it ranked as the second largest importer.

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“India’s domestic arms companies supply only 16% of its total purchases. However, large arms sales by local companies and high level of licensed production put India fourth in the list. This has to be put into perspective against the fact that India is the second largest military spender in the region, after China.”

SIPRI deliberately chose the Indo-Pacific because it considers the region a “maritime theater”, saying most of its hotspots involve navies.

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