India world's largest combat aircraft buyer: Report

According to a report released Wednesday by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a total of 50 countries bought 995 warplanes during 2005-09, Xinhua reported.

India purchased 115 combat planes, the largest buyer in the world during the period, the Swedish institute said in the report. "India, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel are by far the largest recipients of combat aircraft. Together, these three countries accounted for almost one-third of all imports of combat aircraft between 2005 and 2009," the report said.

The US and Russia are by far the largest suppliers of combat aircraft accounting for two-thirds of all warplanes delivered during the period.  According to the report, between 2005 and 2009, the US sold 341 fighter jets, up from 286 planes sold during the previous five-year period, while Russia sold 219 planes, down from 331.

"While combat aircraft are often presented as one of the most important weapons needed for defence, these same aircraft give countries possessing them the potential to easily and with little warning strike deep into neighbouring countries," said Siemon Wezeman, a senior fellow at the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme and the author of the study.

Wezeman pointed out that acquisitions of combat aircraft thus clearly can have a major destabilising effect on regions. SIPRI is an independent institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.

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