Asia is world’s top weapon importer - study
India tops the list while Pakistan ranks third
SWEDEN: Asia leads the world when it comes to weapon imports,
according to a study released Monday by the Stockholm International
Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Globally the volume of international
transfers of major conventional weapons was 24 percent higher in the
period 2007-11 compared to the 2002-06 period, the report said.
Over the past five years, Asia and Oceania accounted for 44 percent
in volume of conventional arms imports, the institute said.
That compared with 19 percent for Europe, 17 percent for the Middle
East, 11 percent for North and South America, and 9 percent for Africa,
said the report.
India was the biggest arms importer in the period covered, 2007-11,
accounting for 10 percent in weapons volume.
It was followed by South Korea (6 percent), China and Pakistan (both
5 percent), and Singapore (4 percent), according to the independent
institute which specialises in arms control and disarmament matters.
These five countries accounted for almost a third, 30 percent, of the
volume of international arms imports, said SIPRI.
“India's imports of major weapons increased by 38 percent between
2002-06 and 2007-11,” SIPRI said.
“Notable deliveries of combat aircraft during 2007-11 included 120
Su-30MKs and 16 MiG-29Ks from Russia and 20 Jaguar Ss from the United
Kingdom,” it said.
While India was the world's largest importer, its neighbour and
sometime foe Pakistan was the third largest.
Pakistan took delivery of “a significant quantity of combat aircraft
during this period: 50 JF-17s from China and 30 F-16s,” the report
Both countries “have taken and will continue to take delivery of
large quantities of tanks,” it also noted.
“Major Asian importing states are seeking to develop their own arms
industries and decrease their reliance on external sources of supply,”
said Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers
China, which in 2006 and 2007 was the world's top arms importer, has
now dropped to fourth place.
“The decline in the volume of Chinese imports coincides with the
improvements in China's arms industry and rising arms exports,”
according to the report.
But “while the volume of China's arms exports is increasing, this is
largely a result of Pakistan importing more arms from China,” it added.
“China has not yet achieved a major breakthrough in any other
significant market.” China is however the sixth largest world exporter
of weapons behind the United States, Russia, Germany, France and
In Europe, Greece was the largest importer between 2007 and 2011, the
Between 2002 and 2011, Syria increased its imports of weapons by 580
percent -- the bulk supplied by Russia -- while Venezuela boosted its
imports over the same period by 555 percent, it reported.
Throughout the Middle East as a whole, weapons imports decreased by
eight percent over the period of the survey.However SIPRI warned “this
trend will soon be reversed.” Tunisia, where mass protests ousted
strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali early last year, launched the
so-called Arab Spring and inspired similar movements in Egypt, Libya and
“During 2011, the governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and
Syria used imported weapons in the suppression of peaceful
demonstrations among other alleged violations of human rights and
international humanitarian law.
“The transfer of arms to states affected by the Arab Spring has
provoked public and parliamentary debate in a number of supplier
states,” the report said.
The volume of deliveries of “major conventional weapons” to African
nations increased by a massive 110 percent in 2007-2011 over the
previous five-year period, with deliveries to North Africa up by 273
Morocco saw its own imports increase by 443 percent, the report