US Arms Exports Surge Amid Growing Middle East, Asian Demand

Nearly half of US arms exports go to the Middle East

Together, these five countries account for 74% of arms supplies around the world.

Despite the decrease, it was the world's fifth-largest arms importer in 2013-17.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) said on Monday that global transfer of major weapons systems between 2013 and 2017 rose by 10% compared with the five-year period before that, in a continuation of an upward trend that began two decades ago.

Russian Federation continued to be India's largest arms supplier, accounting for 62% of India's arms imports between 2013 and 2017.

India continues its dubious standing as the largest importer of major arms in the world in 2013-17, accounting for 12 per cent of the global total. "As relations between the two countries deteriorated in 2013-17 (due to USA perceptions that Pakistan was not fully committed to combating the Taliban), the United States reduced its military aid, and U.S. arms exports to Pakistan fell by 76 per cent compared with 2008-12", the report says. "Its arms imports from the US dropped by 76 per cent in 2013-17 compared with 2008-12".

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

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It also accounted for 71 percent of weapons imports to Bangladesh and for 70 percent of imports to India's nuclear-armed rival, Pakistan.

"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.

"Widespread violent conflict in the Middle East and concerns about human rights have led to political debate in western Europe and North America about restricting arms sales", Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher for SIPRI, told the Guardian.

The US, which is the world's greatest exporter, expanded its deals between those two periods by 25%.

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

U.S. President Donald Trump has been pushing U.S. arms exports since coming to power at the start of 2017.

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Under Abdel Fatah al-Sisi's presidency, Egypt's arms imports grew by 215 percent in the last five years. Arms exports by Germany-the fourth largest exporter in 2013-17-fell by 14 per cent between 2008-12 and 2013-17. Much of American exports include military and transport aircraft.

The study further said that China has increasingly been becoming capable of producing its own weapons, and maintaining itself as a supplier in the region by maintaining good relations with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Algeria accounted for 52 per cent of all African imports in 2013-17.

Australia was the sixth largest arms importer globally in 2013-17.

It said Tokyo turned to the United States 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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