After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, China might have new opportunities in the sale of military equipments. Presently, China is the world’s fourth-largest military exporter in the world after US, Russia and France. As the countries continue to not import products from Russia after its military offensive in Ukraine, China’s arms sale might get impacted.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) report released in March, China sold 4.6% of international weapons exports from 2017 to 2021, according to ANI.
Notably, China witnessed a 31% drop in arms sales as Beijing had sold a 6.4% share of the international weapon sales from 2012 to 2016. From 2017 to 2021, China was behind US, Russia and France in the global arms exports. However, Beijing had sold more weapons than Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. Pakistan imported 47% of the total weapons sold by China while Beijing’s other clients included Bangladesh and Thailand.
Russia was second-largest arms supplier between 2016 to 2021
As per the SIPRI data, China accounted for 4.8% of the total arms imported globally from 2017 to 2021 in comparison to 2012-2016 while Beijing imported 4.4%. China imported 81% of the arms from Russia, 9.1% from France and 5.9% from Ukraine. The SIPRI has highlighted that the arms imports from China is likely to decrease in the next few years as it is now capable of developing most types of arms.
According to ANI, China has been known for being a supplier of affordable and functional military equipment including small arms, armoured vehicles, naval vessels, and artillery. Russia was the second-largest arms supplier between 2016 to 2021. However, Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine might affect its arms sales as some countries will not purchase arms from Moscow.
Russia may face difficulties in producing equipments at previous rates
Furthermore, Russia might not be able to make equipments at its previous rates due to sanctions imposed against Moscow. Reportedly, some of the Russian arms plants have halted production as they face difficulties in importing source components. The difficulties which Russia has been facing in producing military equipments might result in countries now purchasing weapons from China.
However, China will not witness a major surge in arms exports as India and Vietnam import arms from Russia and it is unlikely that both these countries will buy military equipments from China. Algeria and Egypt buy arms from Russia and they might now start purchasing weapons from China.
Reportedly, China is not known for providing after sales support and its equipments might turn non-functional. It is to note here that US and European military sanctions against China might also impact its exports of arms. China has been a major producer of cargo vessels with its state-owned firm China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC).
The US-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) noted that CSSC has been working to step up China’s miliitary science and technology industries. Notably, the Russian defence ministry, facing difficulties, might turn to China for importing arms like drones.
“CSSC is a linchpin in Beijing’s military-civil fusion strategy, which aims to upgrade the PLA and level up China’s military science and technology industries while simultaneously strengthening instruments of national power across the board,” ANI quoted Center for Strategic and International Studies as saying.
Inputs from ANI