The sale of weapons for the period between 2016 and 2020 has been more or less stable compared to the previous five years globally, showed data from a Sweden-based research institute.
A decline in arms sales from Russian and Chinese offset a growth in sale by the United States, France and Germany, the report said. It further noted that the imports and exports of arms were steady at their highest level since the end of the cold war even though the Covid-19 pandemic could ring in some changes.
The Middle East was reported to have recorded the highest growth in import of arms.
“It is too early to say whether the period of rapid growth in arms transfers of the past two decades is over,” said Pieter Wezeman, a senior researcher with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) who collected the data.
“The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic could see some countries reassessing their arms imports in the coming years. However, at the same time, even at the height of the pandemic in 2020, several countries signed large contracts for major arms,” Wezeman said.
The largest exporter during the period was still the US with it exporting arms to 96 countries and increased its share of the global arms market to 37 per cent over the last five years.
The Middle East accounted for almost half (47 per cent) of arms exported from the US and 24 per cent of the total arms exports was gobbled up by Saudi Arabia alone.
There was also a 44 per cent increase in the sale of arms by France while a 21 per cent growth was reported for Germany over the period.
There was significant increase in exports of arms from Israel and South Korea even though both the countries are still minor market share holders globally.
With an increase of 25 per cent in procurement of arms in the 2016-2020 period compared to the previous five years, the Middle East was reported to be the fastest growing market for arms.
The biggest increases came from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar which recorded 16 per cent, 136 per cent and 361 per cent growth in procurement respectively.
About 42 per cent of the global arms trade in the period however went to the Asia and Oceania region. major arms, receiving 42% of global arms transfers. Within this region, the biggest importers of arms were India, Australia, China, South Korea and Pakistan.
There was also drop in the export of arms in the period from both Russia and China even though they still were significant suppliers for countries in both saw their arms exports falling, although the two countries remained major suppliers to countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
There was a 22 per cent drop in arms exports from Russia – mostly because of a 53 per cent drop in imports by India of Russian arms.
“Although Russia has recently signed new large arms deals with several states and its exports will probably gradually increase again in the coming years, it faces strong competition from the USA in most regions,” said Sipri researcher Alexandra Kuimova.
There was a 7.8 per cent drop in sale of Chinese arms even though the country is still the fifth largest arms exporter of the world.
Pakistan, Bangladesh and Algeria were the largest importers of Chinese arms.
(Adapted from BBC.com)