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m3n4.net June 25, 2018


Middle East, Asian demand driving USA arms exports surge

13 March 2018, 06:06 | Tara Lloyd

Arms imports to Middle East jump 103 percent in 5 years

Nearly half of US arms exports go to the Middle East

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.

Nevertheless, Asia and Oceania was the biggest region for arms imports, accounting for 42 percent of the global total between 2013 and 2017, the institute calculated.

U.S. arms exports jumped 25 percent in the 2013-2017 period compared with the previous five years, the SIPRI study showed.

With the Middle East accounting for 49 percent of total USA arms exports, Saudi Arabia was by far its biggest customer.

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The share of top arms exporter, the US, rose to 34 percent in 2013-2017 from 30 percent in 2008-2012, it said.

The UK, which rolled out a red carpet for the Saudi crown prince on his visit to London last week, exported almost half of its arms to the Saudi Arabia, which has increased its imports by 225%. A majority of these weapons have been procured by countries in India's neighbourhood. 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.

According to Siemon Wezeman, a senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme, the tension in recent past with both Pakistan and China have led to the increase in growing demands of weapon, which India does not produce itself.

France, Germany and China were likewise among the main five exporters. This is reported by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), quoted by DPA. Its largest arms supplier was Russian Federation, from which it bought 62% of its weaponry. "These deals and further major contracts signed in 2017 will ensure that the United States of America remains the largest arms exporter in the coming years".

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As China became increasingly capable of producing its own advanced weapons, its arms exports increased by 38 per cent and its arms imports decreased by 19 per cent in 2013-2017 compared with 2008-2012.

"Based on deals signed during the Obama administration, USA arms deliveries in 2013-17 reached their highest level since the late 1990s", said Dr Aude Fleurant, the director of the Sipri's arms and military expenditure programme.

India is the world's largest weapon importer with 12% over the period under review.

Israel increased its imports by 125%, receiving arms mainly from the US, Germany and Italy.Iran, which is under an global arms embargo, spends a fraction of what its Arab neighbours spend on weapons, instead relying on proxies and soft power to advance its policies. India's arms imports from the United States saw a more than six-fold jump. Venezuela's arms imports fell by 40 percent between the two periods. Saudi Arabia's shopping list included 78 combat aircraft, 72 combat helicopters and 328 tanks. The UK is the 6th greatest weapons exporter.

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