Stockholm, March 19 (IANS): India is the world's largest recipient of arms while South Korea is second and Pakistan and China are tied in third place, says the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in a study on international arms transfers.
The volume of worldwide arms transfers in 2007-11 was 24 percent higher than in 2002-06 and the five largest arms importers in 2007-11 were all Asian states, said a press communique. The data revealed that Asia and Oceania accounted for a whopping 44 percent of global arms imports, followed by Europe 19 percent, the Middle East 17 percent, the Americas 11 percent. Africa was the lowest with 9 percent.
India was the world's largest recipient of arms, accounting for 10 percent of global arms imports. The other large recipients of arms in 2007-11 were South Korea (6 percent of arms transfers), Pakistan (5 percent), China (5 percent) and Singapore (4 percent).
"Major Asian importing states are seeking to develop their own arms industries and decrease their reliance on external sources of supply," Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme, was quoted as saying. "A large share of arms deliveries is due to licensed production."
India's neighbour China was the largest recipient of arms exports in 2002-06, but it fell to fourth place in 2007-11. Between 2002-06 and 2007-11, the volume of Chinese arms exports increased by 95 percent and now China ranks as the sixth largest supplier of arms in the world.
"While the volume of China's arms exports is increasing, this is largely a result of Pakistan importing more arms from China," said Paul Holtom, director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme. "China has not yet achieved a major breakthrough in any other significant market."
The study said that major suppliers continued to deliver weapons to countries affected by the events of the Arab Spring.
Despite a review in 2011 of its arms transfer policies towards the region, the US remains a major supplier to both Tunisia and Egypt. In 2011, the US delivered 45 M-1A1 tanks to Egypt and agreed to deliver 125 more, the communique said.
"The transfer of arms to states affected by the Arab Spring has provoked public and parliamentary debate in a number of supplier states. However, the impact of these debates on states' arms export policies has, up to now, been limited," said Mark Bromley, senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.
The think-tank also noted that in 2011 Saudi Arabia placed an order with the US for 154 F-15SA combat aircraft, which was not only the most significant order placed by any state in 2011 but also the largest arms deal for at least two decades.