Russia, U.S. compete for weapons markets in India, Africa

Russian arms and military equipment are still some of the most sought after in the world, Putin said. Source: TASS

Russian arms and military equipment are still some of the most sought after in the world, Putin said. Source: TASS

The global armament market is in a flux. In the changed circumstances, Russia is competing fiercely with the U.S. for a bigger share of the global armament pie.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to expand Russia’s presence in the weapons markets of Asia and Latin America. Last year, Putin announced at a meeting of the Commission for Military Technology Cooperation with Foreign States that Russia had sold more than $15 billion worth of weapons. He also added that the main competitive advantage of Russia in this area is the country’s reputation as a reliable partner.

“Russian arms and military equipment are still some of the most sought after in the world. Of course, our work on the active promotion of Russian military products in foreign markets also played a significant role in this,” he said. ”In addition to improving the regulatory framework in this sector, we also systematically developed new weapons markets. First of all, these are in Latin America, Southeast Asia, where we are intensifying our work with traditional and emerging partners,” added Putin.

In 2013, Russian arms exports reached $15.7 billion. This figure could not be improved due to the situation in the market, and in the coming years, this trend is unlikely to change, said Andrey Frolov, chief editor of the Arms Exports Magazine.

“I think that Russian exporters have reached a certain plateau, which in the near future will be hard to surpass, and this forecast is based on the current level of firm orders on the books and the trends prevalent in the market today. Furthermore, the arms market is cyclical, and large contracts that were signed in the mid-2000s, will not be repeated any time soon, because the weapons updating cycle for Russia’s traditional customers has passed,” he said.

“And we can hardly expect that in the coming years they will start making any mass purchases. This, however, does not preclude new large customers from appearing,” said Frolov.

One of the reasons for this trend in weapons exports is the heightened competition in this area, said Alexander Perendzhiev, a member of the Association of Military Political Analysts.“It became clear to everyone that Russia and the United States struggled especially hard for India – who would this country buy from? Then, of course, there was the battle for the African market, especially for North Africa, where we really have to compete keenly, especially against the West,” he said.

“Libya was a traditional buyer of our weapons, but this will no longer be the case. There remains Egypt, for which we can fight, and Iraq – which is a prime example of the competition between Russia and the West,” Perendzhiev told Kommersant FM.

Russia controls about a quarter of the global arms market, and is second only the United States in terms of volumes of exports. Besides the U.S. and Russia, Germany, China, and France are among the world’s top five weapons exporters.

First published in Russian in Kommersant.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.