SIPRI: Conflicts fuel weapon deliveries to Middle East, Asia

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"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", said senior SIPRI researcher Pieter Wezeman. Its exports increased by 25 per cent between 2008-12 and 2013-17.

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

Weapons reportedly seized by Syria's armed forces during a military operation against ISIS in the eastern Syrian city of Deir Ezzor, on November 5.

United States exports in the period 2008-2012 equaled 30% of the world's total.

The Middle East, a region wherein the past five years most countries have been involved in the conflict, accounted for 32 per cent of global imports of weapons, the Guardian quoted the report as saying. The US, the United Kingdom, and France were the main supplier of arms to the region, while Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE were the main recipient countries.

The world's arms sales in 2013-2017 increased by 10% compared to 2008-2012. More than half of Russian exports were directed to India, China and Vietnam. France increased its arms exports by 27 per cent between the two periods and was the third largest arms exporter in 2013-17.

The US emerged as the world's top exporter of weapons accounting for 34 per cent of global arms sales in the last five years, according to the study.

The volume of global transfers of major weapons in 2013-17 was 10 per cent higher than in 2008-12. While the vast majority of ISIS's arsenal originated in Russia, China and Eastern Europe, much of it was initially procured by the US and Saudi Arabia, which transferred it to Syrian rebel forces later defeated or absorbed by ISIS.

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The Communist nation's arms imports fell by 19% between 2008 and 2012 and 2013-17.

The United States cemented its position as the world's top arms exporter during the five-year period ending 2017, selling about a third of the world's weapons.

Arms exports to the Middle East, Asia and Oceania increased, while there was a decrease in the flow of arms to Africa, the Americas and Europe. As a result, the US has become India's second largest supplier.

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

Algeria accounted for 52 per cent of all African imports in 2013-17. Venezuela's arms imports fell by 40 per cent between the two periods. Deliveries of advanced combat aircraft from the US will drive import volumes up during the next few years.

During the same period, China's weapons exports to Pakistan augmented by healthy 35pc and the latter remained biggest buyer of Chinese-made weapons.

Indonesia increased its arms imports by 193 per cent between 2008-12 and 2013-17. Earlier this year, the German government said it would stop approving arms exports to anyone participating in the war in Yemen.

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