Following years of sharp growth, global transfers of major conventional arms remained at the same level between 2011–2015 and 2016–2020, the data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) revealed on Monday.
“Substantial increases in transfers by three of the top five arms exporters—the USA, France and Germany—were largely offset by declining Russian and Chinese arms exports,” the report read.
According to SIPRI, in 2016-2020, counties of the Middle East, increased arms imports by 25 percent, mainly driven by Saudi Arabia (+61 percent), Egypt (+136 percent) and Qatar (+361 percent), compared to the period from 2011 to 2015.
The authors of the report noted that international arms sales remain close to the highest level since the end of the cold war.
“It is too early to say whether the period of rapid growth in arms transfers of the past two decades is over. For example, 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,” SIPRI senior researcher Pieter D. Wezeman said as quoted in the report.
According to the data, the United States remains the largest arms exporter, increasing its global share of arms exports from 32 to 37 percent between 2011–2015 and 2016–2020.
France increased its exports of major arms by 44 percent and accounted for 8.2 percent of global arms exports over the past five years. Nearly 60 percent of French arms exports were received by India, Egypt and Qatar.
Germany increased its exports of major arms by 21 percent in 2016–2020 and accounted for 5.5 percent of the global total arms exports. South Korea, Algeria and Egypt became the top importers of the German arms.
SIPRI notes that Russia and China saw their arms exports falling. Russia’s arms exports dropped by 22 percent in 2016-2020 and accounted for 20 percent of all exports of major arms.