India emerges as world's largest importer of arms, Pakistan's import goes down

Asia Middle East lead rising trends in arms imports

Arms imports by countries in the Middle East jumped by 103 percent during the 2013-2017 period compared with the previous five years, a report on global arms sales by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) showed on Monday. Total exports rose 38 percent between 2008-12 and 2013-17, with Pakistan the main recipient of Chinese arms.

"Yet the US and European states remain the main arms exporters to the region and supplied over 98 per cent of weapons imported by Saudi Arabia", he said. France is now the third largest arms exporter, Germany the fourth with German arms exports to the Middle East increasing by 109 percent.

Pakistan's arms imports fell by 36% from 2008-'12 to 2013-'17.

Russian Federation continued to be India's largest arms supplier, accounting for 62% of India's arms imports between 2013 and 2017.

From 12 March 2018 the freely accessible SIPRI Arms Transfers Database includes data on arms transfers in 2017 and updated information for 1950-2016.

According to SIPRI estimates, global arms deals have increased by 10% between 2013 and 2017.

The most active buyers of the weapons were India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

India remained the world's largest arms importer between 2013 and 2017, accounting for almost 12% of the global imports whereas its arch-rival Pakistan's military purchase dropped by 36% in the same period.

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The study further said that China has increasingly been becoming capable of producing its own weapons, and maintaining itself as a supplier in the region by maintaining good relations with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. 'Yet the US and European states remain the main arms exporters to the region and supplied over 98 per cent of weapons imported by Saudi Arabia'.

"The flow of arms to the Asia and Oceania and the Middle East increased between 2008-2012 and 2013-2017, while there was a decrease in the flow to the Americas, Africa and Europe", the SIPRI said in its report - titled Trends in International Arms Transfers 2017.

"These deals and further major contracts signed in 2017 will ensure that the US remains the largest arms exporter in the coming years", Dr. Aude Fleurant, director of the SIPRI's arms and military expenditure program, told the Guardian.

U.S. President Donald Trump has been pushing U.S. arms exports since coming to power at the start of 2017.

Military expert Collin Koh, from the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said higher value military items like warships and fighter jets were the major reason for the rise in China's arms exports.

Algeria accounted for 52 per cent of all African imports in 2013-17. The SIPRI Arms Transfers Database contains information on all global transfers of major weapons, since 1950. Deliveries of advanced combat aircraft from the United States of America will drive import volumes up during the next few years.

SIPRI, an independent institute, monitors arms deliveries by volume over periods of five years in order to iron out short-term fluctuations.

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