USA remains the world’s largest exporter of arms: SIPRI

08:04, March 17, 2010      

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The United States is still the largest exporter of military equipments accounting for 30 percent of global arms exports for the period 2005-2009, according to the new data on international arms transfers published recently by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute(SIPRI).

The average volume of worldwide arms transfers for 2005-2009 was 22 percent higher than that in the period of 2000-2004.

The major recipient region for the period 2005-2009 remained Asia and Oceania for 41 percent, followed by Europe 24 percent, the Middle East 17 percent and the Americas 11 percent. Africa accounts for 7 percent.

Arms transfers cause concerns for instability in Asia

During this period, nearly 40 percent of US deliveries went to Asia and Oceania and 36 percent to the Middle East, the SIPRI statement said.
According to the data, deliveries of combat aircraft during 2005 and 2009 accounted for 39 percent of the US deliveries of major conventional weapons and 40 percent of Russian deliveries.

Combat aircraft accounted for 27 percent of the volume of international arms transfers during 2005 and 2009. Orders and deliveries of these potentially destabilizing weapon systems have led to arms race concerns in the Middle East, North Africa, South America, South Asia and South East Asia.

“SIPRI data show that resource-rich states have purchased a considerable quantity of expensive combat aircraft. One can question whether this is an appropriate allocation of the resources in regions with high level poverty,” commented Dr Paul Holtom, Director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Program.

Arms transfers to South East Asia is among the highest with Indonesian, Singapore and Malaysian arms imports increasing by 84 percent, 146 percent and 722 percent respectively over the past ten years. Singapore is the first ASEAN member to be included in the SIPRI Top 10 arms importers since the end of the Vietnam War.

The SIPRI data stated that acquisitions of long-range combat aircraft and warships by these states have influenced the procurement plans of neighboring states.

SIPRI Asia expert Siemon Wezeman noted that in 2009, Viet Nam became the latest South East Asian state to order long-range combat aircraft and submarines. The current waves of South East Asian acquisitions could destabilize the region, jeopardizing decades of peace there.

Arms transfers to South America increase 150 percent

Arms transfers to South America were 150 percent higher during the last five years compared to the beginning of the millennium, following a significant upswing in both military spending and orders for arms in recent years, said SIPRI’s new data.

Mark Bromley, SIPRI Researcher and Latin America expert, made the following comment.

“We see evidence of competitive behavior in arms acquisitions in South America. This clearly shows we need improved transparency and confidence-building measures to reduce tension in the region.”

Arms imports in Europe and Central Asia increase

Military expenditure and arms imports in Europe and Central Asia have increased during the past decade. Military reform and modernization have been offered as justifications for the significant increase in military spending and arms procurement in Eastern Europe, but other factors such as unresolved border disputes, territorial claims and separatism also play a role, said Holtom.

In addition to the US, Russia, Germany, France and the UK are among the world’s top five arms exporters. European and Central Asian states have contributed to the proliferation of small arms and light weapons via transfers and licensed production. They have also developed national legislation and systems for controlling arms transfers and have made commitments at the regional level to prevent diversions or destabilizing build-ups of SALM, according to the SIPRI data.

The SIPRI data shows that the five biggest recipients of arms were China, India, South Korea, the UAE and Greece. However, the arms transferred to the two largest importers-China and India- decreased by 20 percent and 7 percent respectively in 2005-2009 in comparison with 2000-2004.
Established in 1966, SIPRI provides data, analysis and recommendations based on open sources to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public.

By Xuefei Chen, People’s Daily Online reporter in Stockholm, [email protected]

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