Washington: India topped the list of arms purchasers in the developing world in 2005, concluding weapons agreements worth 5.4 billion dollar, according to a Congressional study.

Saudi Arabia ranked second in such agreements at 3.4 billion dollar while China ranked third with 2.8 billion dollar in agreements.

However, there was a difference between the agreements and the actual deliveries of arms. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) report on ”conventional arms transfers to developing nations, 1998-2005,” says Saudi Arabia was the leading recipient of deliveries, involving arms worth 3.5 billion dollar, followed by Israel with 1.7 billion dollar and India ranked third with 1.6 billion dollar.

According to the study Russia emerged as the major supplier of arms to the developing countries in 2005, with sale agreements of 7 billion dollar as against 5.4 billion dollar in 2004.

France ranked second at 6.3 billion dollar and the US ranked third with nearly 6.2 billion dollar, followed by the United Kingdom with 2.8 billion dollar and Spain with 2.2 billion dollar.

India was also the leading developing world arms purchaser from 1998-2005, making arms transfer agreements totaling 20.7 billion dollar during these years.

The report says developing nations continue to be the primary focus of foreign arms sales activity by weapons suppliers.

The value of all arms transfer agreements with developing nations in 2005 was nearly 30.2 billion dollar. This was a notable increase over 2004, and the highest total, in real terms, for the entire period from 1998-2005.

The report says from 2002-2005, the US and Russia have dominated the arms market in the developing world, with the US ranking first for 3 out of 4 years in the value of arms transfer agreements, with Russia ranking second for 3 out of these same four years.

From 2002-2005, the US made 33.3 billion dollar in arms transfer agreements with developing nations. Russia, the second leading supplier during this period, made 21.8 billion dollar in arms transfer agreements. Collectively, the US and Russia made nearly 60 per cent of all arms transfer agreements with developing nations during this four year period.