A National Security Council official said Tuesday that sanctions on Russia have created an “opportunity” for U.S. arms makers to find new buyers.
“Just as a practical matter, countries that have heretofore relied on Russian equipment are going to find it very difficult to get even basic supplies coming through because of this weakened defense industrial base,” Cara Abercrombie, the NSC’s coordinator for defense policy and arms control, said at a defense industry conference.
Abercrombie added that U.S. weapons manufacturers need to be “ready to go” in order to seize the opportunity, noting that the government is “looking at opportunities to provide countries what they need.”
The comments seem to show that President Joe Biden is interested in expanding Washington’s dominance in the global arms trade. U.S. arms makers accounted for 39 percent of that market last year, while Russian companies made up about 19 percent of global exports.
While the official did not specify which countries the defense industry should aim for, the biggest potential target is India, which received more than 23 percent of Russian weapons exports between 2016 and 2020. The U.S. has reportedly begun pressuring India to wean off of Russian arms, and American officials claim that New Delhi has been receptive to their arguments about finding new weapons dealers.
Other leading buyers of Russian weapons include China, Algeria, Egypt, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, and Iraq, some of which are already recipients of U.S. arms.