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US responsible for one third of international arms trade

Image of navy weapons being transported [Joshua Karsten/Wikipedia]
Image of navy weapons being transported [Joshua Karsten/Wikipedia]

The United States has topped the list of countries that trade in arms followed by rival Russia, an annual report issued by major think tank the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said.

According to the report, most of the buyers are from crisis areas in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey.

The arms trade has seen a growth rate of 14 per cent during the past five years, as heavy weapons imports from the Middle East rose by 61 per cent in the period from 2011 to 2015, according to the report. The report gave no details about trade in small arms.

India ranked first in arms purchases followed by Saudi Arabia, which has doubled its purchases three times in the period between 2006 and 2010. The UAE ranked fourth while Turkey came in sixth place in terms of imports.

A senior researcher at SIPRI, Pieter Wezeman, said the result was expected in light of the raging conflicts in the region and the fact that governments have huge budgets but do not have a fully-fledged domestic weapons industry, if they have any arms manufacturing industry at all.

According to the report, “two African nations have purchased more than half of the continent’s purchases of weapons, namely Morocco and Algeria as a result of their relatively good economies allowing them to buy weapons.”

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