China Becomes World’s 5th Biggest Arms Exporter

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According to data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on March 19, 2013, China has replaced the UK to become the fifth largest exporter of conventional arms. This is the first time that China has been ranked among the top five arms exporters since the end of the Cold War. This is also the first time that the UK has not been in the top five since 1950, the earliest year covered by the SIPRI data. China’s replacing of the UK is the first change in the composition of the top five arms exporters in the last two decades.

Overall, the volume of international transfers of major conventional weapons grew by 17 percent between 2003-07 and 2008-12. The five biggest suppliers of major conventional weapons during the five-year period (2008-12) were the US (30 percent of global arms exports), Russia (26 percent), Germany (7 percent), France (6 percent) and China (5 percent).

As per the data, the volume of Chinese exports of major conventional arms rose by 162 percent between 2003-07 and 2008-12. Its share of the volume of international arms exports increased from 2 percent to 5 percent during the period. SIPRI said that the rise of China in this domain was primarily driven by large-scale arms acquisition by Pakistan. It added that apart from Pakistan, China has established itself as a supplier of arms to a number of other important client states as well.

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