As international conflicts continue unabated, international transfers of arms continue to rise.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the sale of arms and munitions increased by 14% between the time periods of 2011-2015 and 2006-2010. This increase in military acquisitions was largely driven by just five countries.
SIPRI notes that the countries that bought the most weapons in 2011-2015 were responsible for 34% of all arms imports between 2011-2015.
India was far and away the largest arms importer. During the 2011-2015 timeframe, it was responsible for 14% of all total international arms imports globally. India’s imports, according to SIPRI, increased 90% as compared against the 2006-2010 timeframe.
By these measurements, New Delhi imports close to three times more than its closest regional rivals, Pakistan and China. India’s reliance on imports is largely due to the country’s slow start at creating a domestic arms industry.
Saudi Arabia is the second largest importer, with the country being responsible for 7% of all global imports. This import rate spiked 275% compared to the 2006-2010 timeframe, with the country pledged to continue receiving high numbers of imports from the West over the following five years.
China, the United Arab Emirates, and Australia round out the top five importers. The countries were responsible for 4.7%, 4.6%, and 3.6% of global weapons imports respectively. Whereas Australia’s numbers largely held steady from previous years, both the UAE and China saw fairly large differences.
China’s imports fell by 25% compared to the 2006-2010 timeframe, largely due to the country’s burgeoning technical ability which has translated to a growing domestic weapons market.
The UAE, on the other hand, increased imports by 37%.
The largest arms import increase came from Vietnam, however. The country went from being the 43rd largest importer in 2006-2010 to becoming the eighth largest importer, with a 699% increase in arms imports.
Vietnam’s imports overwhelmingly came from Russia. The country is currently trying to upgrade its naval and aerial capabilities as it continues to butt heads against China over territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
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