Asia Heads Largest Weapons Trade since the Cold War

Olivier and Mann - Asia Heads Largest Weapons Trade since the Cold War

Olivier and Mann – A report from Sweden’s Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) indicated that since the end of the Cold War, the worldwide arms trade hit a new peak between 2012 and 2016. The record trade was triggered by Asian countries concerned about their territorial disputes and other increasing worries.

The worldwide volume of cross-country shipments of military hardware went up by 8.4 percent in 2012 to 2016 compared to the period between 2007 and 2011. Weapons purchased by Asian countries and Oceania from 2012 to 2016 went up by 7.7 percent and equated to nearly half of global imports.

India which is still engaged in a territorial dispute with Pakistan and political tensions with China imported 13 percent of the worldwide volume, the biggest single volume of military hardware imported during the period. The country boosted its weapons imports by 43 percent compared to imports from 2007 to 2011. China ranked fourth in terms of weapons imports with 4.5 percent of the global purchases, and Pakistan was at number nine with 3.2 percent.

The territorial disputes between Asian countries and China in the South China Sea have fueled the jump in weapons purchases by South-east Asian countries by 6.2 percent. Vietnam, from being the 29th biggest buyer from 2007 to 2011 unexpectedly went into the tenth spot, with the country’s weapons imports rising by over 200 percent.

In as the third top weapons exporters was China, which made a considerable jump from being the sixth in 2012 to 2016. The country’s share of global shipments increased from 3.8 to 6.2 percent. Russia came in second with 23 percent of the global share with 70 percent of its trade going to India, Algeria, China, and Vietnam. The biggest global exporter is still the U.S. with more than one-third of the worldwide market.

Countries in Asia are expected to keep increasing their militaries as there are no arms policy agreements in place in the region, said SIPPRI officials.

SIPRI only generates records over five-year intervals as volumes of shipments change considerably from one year to the next.