China is selling discounted drones to contain India – China’s latest political and current affairs news


A summary of the top news in Chinese politics and current affairs for September 28, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

Chinese President Xi Jinping waves as he reviews the army, at the beginning of the military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, in Beijing, China, September 3, 2015. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Ron Matthews of Cranfield University and the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom and Xiaojuan Ping of the National University of Singapore have written a piece in East Asia Forum discussing China’s arms exports. Here’s what they say:

  • China is now the third-largest arms exporter in the world, overtaking Germany, France, and the United Kingdom since 2012 to become second to only Russia and the U.S.
  • China has quickly increased the number of countries to which it exports to 55, spanning Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.
  • China is quickly upgrading the quality of weapons it makes and exports. Only a decade ago, most Chinese weapons were known for being holdovers from old Soviet designs. That is no longer true.
  • China’s drone designs are now “credible and competitive,” as are their anti-ship cruise missiles. Better designs have led to more sales in upper-middle-income countries.
  • China is selling its drones at a 10-20 percent discount compared with comparable U.S. models.
  • The “end-game” of China’s new arms sales patterns is “longer-term geopolitical and strategic influence.” China knows that many states buy Chinese arms to reduce their reliance on Russian or American imports, which can “reduce strategic vulnerability to arms embargoes.”
  • India’s neighbors — Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Myanmar — have all upped their purchases of China’s arms, and in all likelihood China is not enabling this just for profit, particularly with the discounts on drones.

CNBC reports that India is “expected to purchase two dozen unarmed drones from the United States to monitor growing Chinese activity in the Indian Ocean.” The $3 billion purchase was authorized by the U.S. in June, but final approval is still being negotiated.