India has emerged as the third largest purchaser of US arms with contracts worth $4.5 billion last year alone as US weapons sales rose to $34.8 billion in fiscal 2011, according to a Pentagon report.
The Defence Security Cooperation Agency, the Pentagon agency that oversees foreign arms sales, said sales in the fiscal that ended Sep 30 topped $30 billion for the fourth consecutive year after reaching $31.6 billion in fiscal 2010.
The Pentagon said government-to-government foreign military sales totalled $28.3 billion in fiscal 2011, while other sales managed by various government agencies reached $6.5 billion. The Pentagon had projected government-to-government sales would reach $36.3 billion for the year ending Sep 30.
Afghanistan, Taiwan, India, Australia and Saudi Arabia were the top buyers of US arms last year, the Defence Department said. Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Japan and Sweden were the next largest buyers.
The top ten FMS customers for fiscal 2011 were the Afghan Security Forces ($5.4 billion); Taiwan (US $4.9 billion); India ($4.5 billion); Australia ($3.9 billion); Saudi Arabia ($3.5 billion); Iraq ($2.0 billion); the United Arab Emirates ($1.5 billion); Israel ($1.4 billion); Japan ($0.5 billion); and Sweden ($0.5 billion).
The DSCA said it expected foreign military sales were expected to continue to be about $30 billion for fiscal 2012, but official projections were still being calculated.