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Almost half of U.S. arms exports go to the Middle East

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Indian Army- File

India continues to be world's largest importer for major firearms, an indication that Modi government's make in India drive for defence sector has faltered.

New research completed by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) found that the global arms trade rose by about 10 percent from 2013 to 2017, during which the us increased its sales by about 25 percent and accounted for about a third of global weapons exports.

The report spotlights India's floundering attempts to make firearms in India.

India remained the world's largest arms importer between 2013 and 2017, accounting for almost 12% of the global imports whereas its arch-rival Pakistan's military purchase dropped by 36% in the same period.

India's arms imports increased by 24% over the last 10 year.

"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 tensions between India, on the one side, and Pakistan and China, on the other, are fuelling India's growing demand for major weapons, which it remains unable to produce itself", said Wezeman.

China's arms import slipped by 19 percent between 2008-12 and 2013-17 as the country produced its own advanced weapons.

Surprisingly, India's long-time foe has slashed its imports despite its tensions with India and internal conflicts. Its arms exports increased by 25 per cent between 2008-12 and 2013-17.

The US remained the biggest arms seller, accounting for 34 per cent of global arms exports.

SIPRI data reflects the volume of deliveries of arms, not the financial value of the deals.

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

In contrast, Saudi Arabia's regional rival, Iran, which is propping up Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria, did not even make the list of the 40 largest importers - only accounting for 1% of arms imports to the region.

Arms imports by Egypt-the third largest importer in 2013-17-grew by 215 per cent between 2008-12 and 2013-17.

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.

Over the past five years, France has been the most successful country in forging a close relationship with Egypt in the arms industry.

The sale from USA arms majors, too, reduced by 76% between 2013 and 2017 compared to the previous five-year period. Dhaka procured 71% of its arms from China over the five-year period, and Myanmar 68%.

"Deliveries to Algeria and China, for example, continued throughout 2013-17 but were at lower levels than the previous five-year period", it added. "India's arms imports from Israel also increased (by 285 per cent), making Israel the third largest supplier to India", the report further says.

It said Tokyo turned to the USA for several types of advanced weapons between 2013 and 2017, including the first batches of a total of 42 combat aircraft.

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