Almost half of USA arms exports go to the Middle East

India emerges as world's largest importer of arms Pakistan's import goes down

"Major ongoing arms deals in 2017 included the delivery of combat aircraft from China and Russian Federation", it says.

France, Germany and China have also been among the top five arms exporters over the past five years.

"This development is part of the growing strategic partnership between the two countries under which the US has begun to supply India with advanced military equipment", the report said.

As China became increasingly capable of producing its own advanced weapons, its arms exports increased by 38 per cent and its arms imports decreased by 19 per cent in 2013-2017 compared with 2008-2012. This has resulted in a sharp decline in USA arms supplies, down 76 per cent.

Extending its lead as the world's biggest arms exporter, the USA accounted for 34% of total arms exports.

Russia, the world's second biggest exporter, saw a decrease of 7.1% in its overall volume of arms exports; U.S. exports were 58% higher than those of Russia.

Arms exports by Germany - the fourth largest exporter - fell by 14 per cent between 2008-2012 and 2013-2017.

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With the Middle East accounting for 49 percent of total U.S. arms exports, Saudi Arabia was by far its biggest customer.

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.

"Yet the U.S. and European states remain the main arms exporters to the region and supplied over 98 percent of weapons imported by Saudi Arabia".

The rivalry between America and China has seen both sides step up worldwide arms sales and transfers as they seek to strengthen military ties with key allies, according to a report published on Monday. "India's arms imports from Israel also increased (by 285 per cent), making Israel the third largest supplier to India", the report further says. Arms imports by Egypt-the third largest importer in 2013-17-grew by 215 per cent between 2008-12 and 2013-17.

The Middle East, a region where in the past five years most countries have been involved in conflict, accounted for 32% of global imports of weapons. "The United Arab Emirates was the fourth largest importer in 2013-17, while Qatar (the 20th largest arms importer) increased its arms imports and signed several major deals in that period", SIPRI said.

The analyst believes that "major changes" are likely in Turkey in the coming years, as the country becomes less dependent on arms imports, especially from Europe.

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