US Arms Exports Surge Amid Growing Middle East, Asian Demand

Pauline Gross
March 13, 2018

"In 2013-17 China accounted for 68 per cent of Myanmar's arms imports, followed by Russian Federation with 15 per cent".

Russia, the world's second-biggest exporter, saw a decrease of 7.1 per cent in its overall volume of arms exports; U.S. exports were 58 per cent higher than those of Russia.

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).

"China was the largest arms supplier to Pakistan in 2008-12 and 2013-17".

Pakistan and China's arms imports have reduced in the same period.India's arms imports accounted for 12 per cent of the arms transfers in the world. In comparison to the 2008-2012 period, arms transfers to the Middle East increased by 103 percent whilst the volume of global weapons transfers increased by 10 percent.

"The tensions between India, on the one side, and Pakistan and China, on the other, are fueling India's growing demand for major weapons, which it remains unable to produce itself, ' said SIPRI researcher Siemon Wezeman".

Pakistan's arms imports fell by 36% from 2008-'12 to 2013-'17.

"The flow of arms to the Asia and Oceania and the Middle East increased between 2008-2012 and 2013-2017, while there was a decrease in the flow to the Americas, Africa and Europe", the SIPRI said in its report - titled Trends in International Arms Transfers 2017. The Saudis, now the world's second-largest weapons importers, have led a military coalition against the Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2015 using weapons and intelligence from the Pentagon-giving way to a humanitarian crisis in the impoverished country and killing hundreds of civilians.

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Beijing, whose weapons exports rose by 38 percent in the five-year period, is the main arms supplier for Myanmar, accounting for 68 percent of imports.

Similarly, Bangladesh which is listed as the 19th biggest importer of arms in the world, gets most of its weapons from China.

"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 SIPRI report has also brought to light India's shifting preference for the U.S., who is the leader in arms exports worldwide, holding a share of 34%. Its exports increased by 25 per cent between 2008-12 and 2013-17. This has resulted in a sharp decline in USA arms supplies, down 76 per cent.

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

The Trump administration was nearing completion of a new "Buy American" plan that calls for US military attaches and diplomats to help drum up business for the USA weapons industry, according to media reports in January.

Algeria accounted for 52 per cent of all African imports in 2013-17. "Pakistan was the main recipient (35 per cent), as it has been for all five-year periods since 1991", the report says. The UK is the sixth biggest weapons exporter.

The SIPRI report notes deteriorating ties between the United States and Pakistan, stemming from the perception that Islamabad is not doing enough to combat terrorism in Afghanistan.

Other reports by GizPress

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