Arms imports to Middle East jump 103 percent in 5 years

Arms imports to Middle East jump 103 percent in 5 years

The largest exporters of arms are the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China (they provided 74% of total world export of arms for the last 5 years).

But with New Delhi showing increasingly more affinity to the US, the import from America rose by a whopping 557% between 2008-12 and 2013-17, said the latest report from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute that keeps an eye on the global arms trade.

Saudi Arabia, which is leading a massive military campaign against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, saw its arms imports increase by a staggering 225 percent in the 2013-2017 period compared with 2008-2012.

Beijing, whose weapons exports rose by 38 percent in the five-year period, is the main arms supplier for Myanmar, accounting for 68 percent of imports.

Extending its lead as the world's biggest arms exporter, the USA accounted for 34% of total arms exports.

France, Germany and China were also among the top five exporters.

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

"Yet the U.S.A. and European states remain the main arms exporters to the region and supplied over 98 percent of weapons imported by Saudi Arabia". The U.S. supplied major arms to 98 states in 2013-17, with states in the Middle East accounting for 49 percent.

Nearly half of US arms exports go to the Middle East

The Middle East received nearly half of the USA arms exports from 2013 to 2017, it said. As many as 31% of arms transfers to West Asia went to Saudi Arabia, 14% to Egypt and 13% to the United Arab Emirates, the study showed. "Although the volume of China's arms exports to Pakistan remained roughly the same in both periods, its share of Pakistan's arms imports rose from 45 per cent in 2008-12 to 70 per cent in 2013-17 due to the overall decrease in Pakistan's arms imports between those periods", the report stated.

"China, by contrast, is becoming increasingly capable of producing its own weapons and continues to strengthen its relations with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar through arms supplies", he said.

"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", the SIPRI report said quoting Siemon Wezeman, a senior researcher with the watchdog's Arms and Military Expenditure Programme.

Russian Federation continues to be India's most trusted strategic ally who supplies major military hardware to New Delhi.

China's arms imports fell by 19 percent between 2008-12 and 2013-17. The sale of U.S. arms to Pakistan dropped by 76% in 2013-'17 compared to 2008-'12.

Notably, Algeria accounted for 52 percent of all African imports over the last five years. Deliveries of advanced combat aircraft from the US 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. The SIPRI Arms Transfers Database contains information on all global transfers of major weapons, since 1950.

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