Arms trade hits highest level since Cold War

Demand from the Middle East and Asia has driven the transfer of arms to its highest level in decades, a study shows. The US and Russia produced more than half of the world’s arms in the past five years, it says.


The Middle East almost doubled its imports compared with the 2007-2011 period, taking a 29 percent share.

The United States remained the world’s top weapons exporter, supplying 33 percent of the arms traded abroad, ahead of Russia on 23 percent. Together with China (6.2 percent), France (6 percent) and Germany (5.6 percent), they accounted for almost 75 percent of global exports of heavy weapons.

The study showed the United States and France as the main weapons suppliers for the Middle East, and Russia and China for Asia.

India, Saudi Arabia top importers

The top importer was India, which has little or no national weapons production and acquired most of its arms from Russia, with a 13 percent share, followed by Saudi Arabia on 8 percent. The latter almost trebled its share from 2007-2011, the study said, buying half of its weapons from the US and the rest from Britain and Spain. China, the United Arab Emirates and Algeria were the other biggest importers.

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