Almost half of USA arms exports go to Middle East

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The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) said on Monday that worldwide exchange of significant weapons frameworks in the vicinity of 2013 and 2017 rose by 10% contrasted and the five-year time frame before that, in a continuation of an upward pattern that started two decades back.

The report said India was the largest arms importer, accounting 12 percent of the global total during 2013 and 2017.

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.

Exports to states in the Middle East accounted for half of the total U.S. weapon exports in that period. Despite this, it was the world's fifth largest arms importer in 2013-17.

The Middle East, a region where in the past five years most countries have been involved in conflict, accounted for 32% of global imports of weapons.

The report was published a week after China unveiled an 8.1 per cent increase in military spending over a three-year period, although China's state media defended the rise as proportionate and low, adding that it would not lead to an arms race with the United States.

In 2017 it delivered one patrol ship, the USS Morgenthau, to Vietnam - the first major USA arms transfer to that country.

Russia, France, Germany and China joined the United States as the five biggest exporters.

SIPRI, an independent institute, monitors arms deliveries by volume over periods of five years in order to iron out short-term fluctuations. Five countries - India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and China - receive just over a third of global arms supplies.

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Few countries outside North America and Europe are large exporters of arms.

On the other hand, India - which has been accelerating its relationship with the USA 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.

Russian Federation remained India's largest supplier of arms in 2013-2017.

China's arms imports fell by 19% between 2008-12 and 2013-17. However, arms imports from the U.S. rose by 557 per cent between 2008-12 and 2013-17, making it India's second largest arms supplier.

The report showed China delivered major arms to 48 countries in the past five years, with Pakistan topping the list, followed by Bangladesh and Algeria.

But who is the second largest importer of weapons after India?

Arms imports by Egypt-the third largest importer in 2013-17-grew by 215 per cent between 2008-12 and 2013-17.

"China is becoming increasingly capable of producing its own weapons and continues to strengthen its relations with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar through arms supplies", said Siemon Wezeman, a senior researcher with the SIPRI arms and military expenditure programme.