SIPRI: Conflicts fuel weapon deliveries to Middle East, Asia

Nearly half of US arms exports go to the Middle East

The report was published a week after China unveiled an 8.1 per cent increase in military spending over a three-year period, although China's state media defended the rise as proportionate and low, adding that it would not lead to an arms race with the United States. The US is now India's second largest arms supplier.

Continuing the upward trend that began in the early 2000s, the volume of global transfers of major weapons in 2013-17 was 10 percent higher than in 2008-12, according to new data published by the Stockholm worldwide Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The five largest exporters in 2013-17 were the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China (see table 1).

Pakistan and China's arms imports have reduced in the same period.India's arms imports accounted for 12 per cent of the arms transfers in the world.

'The tensions between India, on the one side, and Pakistan and China, on the other, are fuelling India's growing demand for major weapons, which it remains unable to produce itself, ' said Siemon Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme. "Its imports increased by 24 per cent between 2008-12 and 2013-17".

Arms imports by Egypt-the third largest importer in 2013-17-grew by 215 per cent between 2008-12 and 2013-17.

It also accounted for 71 percent of weapons imports to Bangladesh and for 70 percent of imports to India's nuclear-armed rival, Pakistan.

This has consolidated China's position as the main arms supplier, with Pakistan accounting for its biggest export market.

The Middle East, a region wherein the past five years most countries have been involved in the conflict, accounted for 32 per cent of global imports of weapons, the Guardian quoted the report as saying. The USA supplied major arms to 98 states in 2013-17.

"Based on deals signed during the Obama administration, USA arms deliveries in 2013-17 reached their highest level since the late 1990s", said Aude Fleurant, Director of the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Program.

"In 2008-12 Pakistan received substantial military aid from the United States, including 28 combat aircraft and five maritime patrol aircraft". "China delivered major arms to 48 countries in 2013-17. Major ongoing arms deals in 2017 included the delivery of combat aircraft from China and Russian Federation", it says. Russia, the next biggest exporter, saw its arms sales fall 7.1 percent to 22 percent of global exports compared with the five years to 2012.

Beijing is the dominant weapons exporter to Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh, says Stockholm institute report.

Notably, Algeria accounted for 52 percent of all African imports over the last five years. Venezuela's arms imports fell by 40 percent between the two periods. This was "due to U.S. perceptions that Pakistan was not fully committed to combating the Taliban", the report said.

Setting a new trend, China has emerged as the number one arms supplier to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, by supplying almost 70% of the arms used by the military in these three nations.

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