Arms imports to Middle East jump 103 percent in 5 years

Arms imports to Middle East jump 103 percent in 5 years

Arms imports to Middle East jump 103 percent in 5 years

Arms trade deals signed during the Obama administration have led to a rise in US weapons exports in recent years, with almost half of USA weapons going to the Middle East, fueling violent conflicts there. "India's arms imports from Israel also increased (by 285 per cent), making Israel the third largest supplier to India", the report further says.

The volume of major weapons' global transfers rose 10 percent in the period between 2013 and 2017, compared to 2008-2012, according to a report by the Stockholm worldwide Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on Monday.

Israel increased its imports by 125%, receiving arms mainly from the US, Germany and Italy.Iran, which is under an global arms embargo, spends a fraction of what its Arab neighbours spend on weapons, instead relying on proxies and soft power to advance its policies.

India is the world's largest weapon importer with 12% over the period under review.

China was the fifth largest arms exporter in 2013-17.

"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", another SIPRI researcher Siemon Wezeman said.

Arms exports to the Middle East, Asia and Oceania increased, while there was a decrease in the flow of arms to Africa, the Americas and Europe. 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. 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.

Aude Fleurant, director of the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme, said that US arms sales surged to their highest level since the 1990s under the administration of former President Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, India, which receives most of its arms from Russian Federation, heads the list of top importers followed by Egypt, the UAE, and China.

Military expert Collin Koh, from the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said higher value military items like warships and fighter jets were the major reason for the rise in China's arms exports. Much of American exports include military and transport aircraft.

Beijing is the dominant weapons exporter to Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh, says Stockholm institute report.

According to SIPRI estimates, global arms deals have increased by 10% between 2013 and 2017.

US arms sales have surged significantly in the past four years as more weapons flowed to clients involved in violent conflicts in the Middle East, according to a conflict monitoring and disarmament analysis institute.

Notably, Algeria accounted for 52 percent of all African imports over the last five years. The UK is the 6th greatest weapons exporter.

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

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