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China dominated Asia-Pacific defence exports over last decade as India continued to rely on foreign defence equipment

13 November 2019 Jon Grevatt

Jane's analysis shows China dominated the defence export sector across the Asia-Pacific region in the period 2009-19, hitting nearly USD18 billion in sales. India tops Jane's Asia-Pacific defence importer list, with materiel imports totaling more than USD48.5 billion in the 10-year period.

"India's long focus on promoting indigenous defence production has not yet had the desired effect, and the country continues its strong reliance on equipment from suppliers including the US, Russia, France and Israel," said Jon Grevatt, Asia-Pacific Defence Industry analyst.

"But self-sufficiency in defence remains the ultimate goal for India and nearly all other Asian countries," added Grevatt. "These efforts are increasingly framed by offset and collaboration policies requiring foreign suppliers to expand regional partnerships with local industry. We expect this trend to continue for the foreseeable future as governments try to facilitate local involvement."

The US remains the most dominant supplier to nearly all top defence importers across the region - including India, Australia, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan - underscoring Washington's continuing efforts to enhance its strategic influence in the Asia-Pacific. China's regional sales are almost exclusively to developing markets.

Imports - Top Three defence materiel importers. Asia Pacific (2009 - 2019)


Imports (USD millions)





South Korea


Source: Jane's

China exports more than double its closest regional rival

Jane's data highlights that China's military exports in the 10-year period are more than double those by its closest competitor, South Korea, which recorded international sales of USD7.1 billion.

"China's strong defence industrial development is reflected by its lack of reliance on imports and its position as the region's strongest military exporter," said Grevatt. "The export success enjoyed by the region's top three defence exporters - China, South Korea, and Australia - reflect state-led campaigns to expand international military sales and develop their national defence industrial bases."

Exports - Top Three defence materiel exporters. Asia Pacific (2009 - 2019)


Exports (USD millions)



South Korea




Source: Jane's

Posted 13 November 2019 by Jon Grevatt, Analyst – Asia-Pacific Defense Industry, Jane's by IHS Markit


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