World Media

Almost half of U.S. arms exports go to Middle East

Almost half of U.S. arms exports go to Middle East

The Middle East, a region wherein the past five years most countries have been involved in the conflict, accounted for 32 per cent of global imports of weapons, the Guardian quoted the report as saying.

On Monday, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) published the results of its study of international arms transfers between 2013 and 2017, finding a 10 percent overall increase from the 2008-2012 period.

The report spotlights India's floundering attempts to make firearms in India. 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.

Last year, the government even scrapped the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) that scrutinized foreign investment proposals in its desperate attempt to cut red tape and facilitate ease of doing business.

The study said that there has been significant increase of 24 per cent in India's weapon import between 2008-12 and 2013-17.

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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.

Surprisingly, India's long-time foe has slashed its imports despite its tensions with India and internal conflicts.

The US, which is the world's biggest exporter, increased its sales between those two periods by 25%.

"Yet the U.S. and European states remain the main arms exporters to the region and supplied over 98 per cent of weapons imported by Saudi Arabia", he said.

A SIPRI report on trends in global arms transfers also reflects the changing geopolitics of South Asia, with sales of weapons to Pakistan by the United States dropping by a significant 76 per cent in the past five years.

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The data records actual arms deliveries, orders for which may have been placed in the past.

"Yet the U.S. and European states remain the main arms exporters to the region and supplied over 98% of weapons imported by Saudi Arabia".

Saudi Arabia - which is waging a war against Shiite Houthi rebels backed by its regional rival Iran - is the world's second largest importer of arms after India, SIPRI said. While it was the world's fifth largest arms importer in 2013-17, China has also emerged as the fifth largest arms exporter, with exportsrising by 38% between 2008-12 and 2013-17. 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. This was "due to USA perceptions that Pakistan was not fully committed to combating the Taliban", the report said. While the vast majority of ISIS's arsenal originated in Russia, China and Eastern Europe, much of it was initially procured by the USA and Saudi Arabia, which transferred it to Syrian rebel forces later defeated or absorbed by ISIS.

During the same period, China's weapons exports to Pakistan augmented by healthy 35pc and the latter remained biggest buyer of Chinese-made weapons. The US is now India's second largest arms supplier.

China's arms imports fell by 19% between 2008-12 and 2013-17.

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