The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has just published new data on international arms transfers. According to SIPRI, the volume of worldwide arms transfers in 2007–2011 was 24 per cent higher than in 2002–2006 and the five largest arms importers in 2007–2011 were all Asian states.
The UN, following Resolution 61/89, is working on a new Arms Trade Treaty. The United Nation's final negotiating conference for the Arms Trade Treaty is scheduled for 2012. Control Arms is one of the main global civil society alliance campaigning for a “bulletproof” Arms Trade Treaty. You can support them here.
Main Findings of the SIPRI report
Asia and Oceania accounted for 44 per cent of global arms imports, followed by Europe (19 per cent), the Middle East (17 per cent), the Americas (11 per cent) and Africa (9 per cent). India was the world’s largest recipient of arms, accounting for 10 per cent of global arms imports. The four next largest recipients of arms in 2007–2011 were South Korea (6 per cent of arms transfers), Pakistan (5 per cent), China (5 per cent) and Singapore (4 per cent).
China was the largest recipient of arms exports in 2002–2006, but as China’s arms industry is improving, China is becoming a major exporter of arms. The volume of Chinese arms exports increased by 95 per cent. China now ranks as the sixth largest supplier of arms in the world, narrowly trailing the United Kingdom.
Major suppliers continued to deliver weapons to countries affected by the events of the Arab Spring. Despite a review in 2011 of its arms transfer policies towards the region, the USA remains a major supplier to both Tunisia and Egypt. Russia supplied 78 per cent of Syria’s imports in 2007–11.
In 2011 Saudi Arabia placed an order with the USA for 154 F-15SA combat aircraft, which was not only the most significant order placed by any state in 2011 but also the largest arms deal for at least 2 decades.
Greece’s arms imports decreased by 18 per cent between 2002–2006 and 2007–11. In 2007–11 it was the 10th largest arms importer, down from being the 4th largest in 2002–2006. Greece placed no new order for major conventional weapons in 2011.
Venezuela’s arms imports increased by 555 per cent between 2002–2006 and 2007–11 and it rose from being the 46th largest importer to the 15th largest.
The volume of deliveries of major conventional weapons to states in North Africa increased by 273 per cent between 2002–2006 and 2007–11. Morocco’s imports of major weapons increased by 443 per cent between 2002–2006 and 2007–11.