India is not only the biggest arms importer in the world, it is also the biggest customer to the Russian defense industry, data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute shows.
India's dependence on Russian defense technology has been identified as one of the main reasons why the country did not speak out against Russia after the country invaded Ukraine at the end of last month and instead has attempted to remain neutral. Between 2017 and 2021, India received almost 28 percent of all Russian arms exports. 85 percent of the country's military equipment is believed to be Russian or Soviet, according to the Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs. Russia and India are also close on trade, with India relying on Russia for fertilizer and energy needs.
Russia's second-biggest customer over the past five years was China. Tension between the country and its neighbor India have been responsible for the perceived need for security in the region, tying India even closer to its arms trade partner Russia. China, on the other hand, also has a growing domestics weapons industry.
Other countries having received large shares of Russian weapons in the past several years are Egypt and Algeria, receiving upwards of 10 percent each, as well as Vietnam, Kazakhstan and Iraq.