Asia, Middle East drive arms sales to highest since Cold War

Global arms trade spikes to highest since the end of the Cold War

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) in the report said the Middle East almost doubled its arms imports and India's share in the global imports went up to 13 per cent.

Inflows to India accounted for 13 percent of the world's arms imports, a rise of 43 percent compared to 2007-2011.

"While China is increasingly able to substitute arms imports with indigenous products, India remains dependent on weapons technology from many willing suppliers, including Russian Federation, the USA, European states, Israel and South Korea", said Siemon Wezeman, senior researcher at Sipri's arms and military expenditure programme. The report said while China was increasingly able to substitute arms imports with indigenous products, India remained dependent on weapons technology from Russian Federation, the US, Europe, Israel and South Korea. Riyadh bought weapons mostly from the U.S. and the United Kingdom, the report said.

It said the flow of arms to Asia and Oceania and the Middle East increased in 2012-16, while there was a decrease in the flow to Europe, the Americas, and Africa.

Europe's global imports were down by a third as a result of defense cuts, making up 11 percent. Initial deliveries of advanced combat aircraft started in the period 2012 to 2016 and further deliveries will drive import volumes up in future years.

In the Middle East arms imports have almost doubled, rising 86% when 2007-2011 was compared with 2012-2016.

Saudi Arabia became the world's second largest arms importer, with an increase of 212%. It was responsible for 33% of all weapons exports in the five year period that ended in 2016.

He said despite low oil prices, countries in the region continued to order more weapons in 2016, perceiving them as crucial tools for dealing with conflicts and regional tensions.

According to the rating published by SIPRI, the five largest suppliers of arms, as before, are led by the US.

The US remained the world's biggest arms exporter, accounting for 33 percent of all weapons sold in the five years through 2016, the study found. Russian Federation is the second largest supplier, while China took third place.

Tensions have grown since 2014 as China has turned sandbars into islands, equipping them with airfields, ports and weapons systems and warned USA warships and aircraft to stay away from them.

"The USA supplies major arms to at least 100 countries around the world - significantly more than any other supplier state".

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