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Pakistan, Saudi Arabia among Key Defence Importers: SIPRI

Middle Eastern countries accounted for the biggest increase in arms imports, up 25% in 2016–20 from 2011–15.

Among other countries like India, Australia, China, South Korea, Pakistan has been the biggest importer of arms receiving 42% of global arms transfers in 2016–20, says the report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

While United States, France and Germany are the biggest exporters- increased the deliveries. On the other hand, Russian and China reduced the deliveries adversely affecting the global surge. SIPRI said that international deliveries of arms were flat in the period 2016-2020, ending more than a decade of increases.

According to SIPRI, it was the first time since 2001–2005 that the volume of deliveries of major arms between countries – an indicator of demand – did not increase from the previous five-year period.

Although the pandemic has had economies plunge across the world and pushed many countries into deep recessions, SIPRI said it was too early to tell whether the slowdown in arms deliveries was likely to continue.

Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme, said in a statement,

“The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could see some countries reassessing their arms imports in the coming years.”

“However, at the same time, even at the height of the pandemic in 2020, several countries signed large contracts for major arms.”

For instance, United Arab Emirates, for example, recently signed an agreement with the United States to purchase 50 F-35 jets and up to 18 armed drones as part of a $23 billion package.

Middle Eastern countries accounted for the biggest increase in arms imports, up 25% in 2016–20 from 2011–15.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest arms importer, increased its arms imports by 61% and Qatar by 361%.

Siemon Wezeman, senior researcher with SIPRI said,

“For many states in Asia and Oceania, a growing perception of China as a threat is the main driver for arms imports.”

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