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Global weapons sales highest since end of Cold War

Global arms trade hits highest level since end of Cold War

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI, said Monday the arms import figures for the Middle East accounted for 29 percent of global imports during the 2012 to 2016 period, while Asia and Oceania accounted for 43 percent of global imports during that period.

Arms imports by countries in the Middle East increased by 86% in the five years through 2016, compared with the previous five years.

"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", Wezeman said.

A Swedish think tank says that the global arms trade has steadily increased in volume the past five years, propelled by an nearly doubling of arms imports in the Middle East and strong growth in demand in Asia. "Over the past five years, most states in the Middle East have turned primarily to the U.S. and Europe in their accelerated pursuit of advanced military capabilities", said Pieter Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme. The volume of its arms imports increased by 202 per cent.

The volume of major weapons changing hands was the highest for any five-year period since the end of the Cold War, the independent institute said.

"Because weapons contracts take a very long time to complete, we are now seeing deliveries that were agreed years ago, when the oil price was high", Fleurant said.

India was the world's largest importer of major arms in the last five years and its overseas procurement was far greater than that of China and Pakistan, a Stockholm-based think-tank said today. Among the biggest jumps were Saudi Arabia's (up 212%) and Qatar's (up 245%).

The Middle East, where demand grew by 86% between 2007 to 2011 and 2012 to 2016 to reach 29% of all imports, gets most of its destructive technology from the United States and France.

Russian Federation is the second in the list of the largest arms exporters. "Both advanced strike aircraft with cruise missiles and other precision-guided munitions and the latest generation air and missile defence systems account for a significant share of USA arms exports".

The US was the top arms exporter for 2012 - 16, selling 21% more than in the previous five-year period.

China, although still a major importer, has decreased inflows over recent years as it has improved its domestic arms output. China, France and Germany were also among the top five exporters.