Global arms trade reaches highest point since cold war era – Sipri report claims

Stockholm: Due to increased import from India, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, global arms trade has reached its highest point. According to the latest report from Sipri (the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute), the global trade has reached its peak after the cold war era. This report about increased arms trade is all the more significant on the background of third world war warnings from various world leaders, officials and analysts.

During 2007 to 2011, Asia, Pacific Ocean and Gulf countries’ import of arms contributed to 60 percent of the total trade of arms worldwide. In the next five years period, from 2012 to 2016, this trade rose to 72 percent. The report statistics show that although the import has not significantly increased from Asia and Pacific region, the import from gulf countries has escalated significantly. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq are amongst world’s top 10 importers of arms.

The Sipri report states that considering the post cold war era, arm trade has reached its highest record breaking level during 2012 to 2016. In the last five years the gulf countries have continually imported weapons from the United States and Europe. This import is believed to be due to accelerated pursuit of advanced military capabilities. Even plummeting oil price has not stopped gulf countries from their heavy import of arms. Pieter Wezeman, a senior officer and researcher at Sipri, stated that these weapons are perceived as crucial tools for dealing with conflicts and regional tensions.

Saudi Arabia which is responsible for 8 percent of the total arms trade has increased its arms import by a staggering 212 percent. Another Gulf country, Qatar, has increased its import by 245 percent. Sipri report added that most of this import is from the US and Europe.

The United States and Russia are still at the top of the list of global exporters of arms. The United States is responsible for 33 percent of global arms trade while that of Russia is 23 percent. China solidified its position as the top-tier, third supplier by increasing exports to 6.2% of the global arms trade. This shows a 2.5 percent increase as compared to its export during the period of 2007 to 2011. China’s focus is mainly on the export of arms within Asia and Africa.

Sipri report also informs that the United States of America which has been the biggest exporters of arms have supplied major arms to at least 100 countries around the world. The US’s main three customers were Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey. Both advanced strike aircraft with cruise missiles and other precision-guided munitions and the latest generation air and missile defence systems account for a significant share of the US arms exports.

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