US Arms Exports Surge Amid Growing Middle East, Asian Demand

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The five biggest exporters, the U.S., Russia, France, Germany and China, together accounted for 74 per cent of all arms exports in 2013-17.

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).

"Its imports increased by 24 per cent between 2008-12 and 2013-17...arms imports from the US increased by 557 per cent, making it India's second largest arms supplier...." Its exports were 58 percent higher than those of Russian Federation, who was the world's second largest arms exporter during the 2013-2017 period.

The US, which is the world's biggest exporter, increased its sales between those two periods by 25 per cent, according to the Sipri report. Despite its continuing tensions with India and ongoing internal conflicts, Pakistan's arms imports decreased by 36 per cent between 2008-12 and 2013-17.

On the other hand, India - which has been accelerating its relationship with the U.S. over the past several years from more military exercises to a path-breaking logistics sharing agreement - has recorded a 557 per cent increase in arms deliveries from Washington in 2013-17 as compared to the past.

But who is the second largest importer of weapons after India? U.S. arms exports in 2013-17 were 58 per cent higher than those of Russia-the second largest arms exporter in that period. The USA supplied major arms to 98 states in 2013-17. Russia, the next biggest exporter, saw its arms sales fall 7.1 percent to 22 percent of global exports compared with the five years to 2012.

"In 2008-12 Pakistan received substantial military aid from the U.S., including 28 combat aircraft and five maritime patrol aircraft". The SIPRI report notes that while European Union member-states and the U.S. have imposed arms embargoes due to the use of force against the Rohingyas, China is the main weapons supplier. Israel (55 per cent), South Korea (65 per cent) and Turkey (145 per cent) substantially increased their respective arms exports between 2008-12 and 2013-17.

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Weapons reportedly seized by Syria's armed forces during a military operation against ISIS in the eastern Syrian city of Deir Ezzor, on November 5.

"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 rivalry between America and China has seen both sides step up global arms sales and transfers as they seek to strengthen military ties with key allies, according to a report published on Monday.

Notably, Algeria accounted for 52 percent of all African imports over the last five years.

Weapons imports to the Middle East and Asia have boomed over the past five years, fueled by war and tensions in those regions, a new study showed on Monday. Dhaka procured 71% of its arms from China over the five-year period, and Myanmar 68%.

It said Tokyo turned to the United States for several types of advanced weapons between 2013 and 2017, including the first batches of a total of 42 combat aircraft.