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SIPRI: Egypt's arms imports skyrocket amidst greater security threats

13 March 2018
SIPRI: Egypt's arms imports skyrocket amidst greater security threats

"Widespread violent conflict in the Middle East and concerns about human rights have led to political debate in western Europe and North America about restricting arms sales", Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher for SIPRI, told the Guardian.

In contrast, Pakistan's imports from the USA dropped by 76% in 2013-17 compared with 2008-12, while it emerged as the largest recipient of Chinese arms exports, according to the latest report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

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

India was the largest importer of major arms for the period, accounting for 12 percent of the global total, with imports rising 24 percent.

Last year, the government even scrapped the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) that scrutinized foreign investment proposals in its desperate attempt to cut red tape and facilitate ease of doing business.

Israel increased its imports by 125%, receiving arms mainly from the US, Germany and Italy.Iran, which is under an worldwide arms embargo, spends a fraction of what its Arab neighbours spend on weapons, instead relying on proxies and soft power to advance its policies.

"China, by contrast, is becoming increasingly capable of producing its own weapons and continues to strengthen its relations with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar through arms supplies", he added.

Surprisingly, India's long-time foe has slashed its imports despite its tensions with India and internal conflicts.

Saudi Arabia, which is leading a massive military campaign against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, saw its arms imports increase by a staggering 225 percent in the 2013-2017 period compared with 2008-2012.

This has consolidated China's position as the main arms supplier, with Pakistan accounting for its biggest export market.

China was the fifth largest arms exporter in 2013-17.

The data records actual arms deliveries, orders for which may have been placed in the past. 'Yet the U.S. and European states remain the main arms exporters to the region and supplied over 98 per cent of weapons imported by Saudi Arabia'.

Almost half of U.S. arms exports over the past five years have gone to the war-stricken Middle East, with Saudi Arabia consolidating its place as the world's second biggest importer, a report has shown.

The Communist nation's arms imports fell by 19% between 2008 and 2012 and 2013-17.

Arms imports to the region doubled between 2013 and 2017 and in the five-year period before that. Of Egypt's arms imports across this period, 37 percent came from France, 26 percent from the USA and 21 percent from Russian Federation, according to data from SIPRI. Deliveries of advanced combat aircraft from the US will drive import volumes up during the next few years.

The sale from United States arms majors, too, reduced by 76% between 2013 and 2017 compared to the previous five-year period.

Military expert Collin Koh, from the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said higher value military items like warships and fighter jets were the major reason for the rise in China's arms exports.

During the same period, China's weapons exports to Pakistan augmented by healthy 35pc and the latter remained biggest buyer of Chinese-made weapons.