Dubai: Saudi Arabia has dislodged India to become the world's top defence importer in 2014, while China inched closer to its Asian neighbour at third position, research company IHS said on Sunday in a report.
US continues to be the top defence exporter followed by Russia, France and UK, the ranking unchanged from 2013, the information agency said in its annual defence report.
"In 2014, Saudi Arabia replaced India as the largest importer of defence equipment worldwide and took the top spot as the number one trading partner for the US," the IHS report added.
Similarly, China jumped from the world's fifth to the third largest defence importer, the report added.
It also pointed that China was the largest recipient of defence equipments from Russia in 2014 valued at USD 2.3 billion followed by India at USD 1.7 billion, and Venezuela and Vietnam each at USD 1 billion.
In 2014, global defence trade increased for the sixth straight year to USD 64.4 billion, up from USD 56.8 billion, IHS added.
"This record figure has been driven by unparalleled demand from the emerging economies for military aircraft and an escalation of regional tensions in the Middle East and Asia Pacific," IHS senior defence analyst Ben Moores said.
Moores added that "one out of every seven dollars" spent on defence imports in 2015 will be spent by Saudi Arabia. And its imports increased by 54 per cent between 2013 and 2014 and, based on planned deliveries, imports will increase by 52 per cent to USD 9.8 billion in 2015.
Whereas India slipped to second position, its Asian neighbour, China jumped from the world's fifth to the third largest defence importer.
"China continues to require military aerospace assistance from Russia and its total defence procurement budget will continue to rise very quickly," said Paul Burton, Director of Defence Industry & Budgets at IHS Aerospace, Defence and Security.
Meanwhile, in companies, Boeing continues to remain the top firm in terms of defence exporters, followed by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.