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Almost half of USA arms exports go to Middle East

13 March 2018, 06:04 | Marta Robbins

Nearly half of US arms exports go to the Middle East

Saudi Arabia increased arms imports by 225% in 5 years

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).

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.

The report said the U.S, Russia, France, Germany and China were the largest arms exporters, which accounted for 74 percent of total arms exports in the world.

The United States accounts for 61 percent of arms imports to Saudi Arabia and Britain for 23 percent.

"Based on deals signed during the Obama administration, United States 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.

The United States cemented its position as the world's top arms exporter during the five-year period ending 2017, selling about a third of the world's weapons.

Weapons procurement by countries in West Asia increased by 103% during 2013-'17.

The report revealed that the world's top five arms importer were India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and China in the last five years.

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"Widespread violent conflict in the Middle East and concerns about human rights have led to political debate in western Europe and North America about restricting arms sales", said Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher with the Sipri's arms and military expenditure programme.

The SIPRI report has also brought to light India's shifting preference for the USA, who is the leader in arms exports worldwide, holding a share of 34%.

Russian Federation remains the world's second-largest weapon exporter, accounting for around 20% of global supplies to 47 countries. But imports from the U.S. increased by a whopping 557 per cent between 2008-12 and 2013-17.

According to details, Pakistan accounted for 2.7pc of global arms imports during the aforementioned period.

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.

"Deliveries to Algeria and China, for example, continued throughout 2013-17 but were at lower levels than the previous five-year period", it added.

Despite the decrease, it was the world's fifth-largest arms importer in 2013-17. However, arms imports from the U.S. rose by 557 per cent between 2008-12 and 2013-17, making it India's second largest arms supplier.

"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, the director of the Sipri's arms and military expenditure programme. Saudi Arabia's shopping list included 78 combat aircraft, 72 combat helicopters and 328 tanks. The UK is the sixth biggest weapons exporter.



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