Europe saw the largest growth in arms imports in 2017-2021 compared to the previous five-year period against the backdrop of an overall decline in global arms trade, according to a report released Monday.
Weapons imports by European countries jumped 19% between 2012–2016 and 2017–2021, accounting for 13% of global arms transfers which showed an overall decrease of 4.6% in the same period, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) stated in its report.
“The severe deterioration in relations between most European states and Russia was an important driver of growth in European arms imports, especially for states that cannot meet all their requirements through their national arms industries,” said Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.
“….increasing or continuing high rates of weapons imports to places like Europe, East Asia, Oceania and the Middle East contributed to worrying arms build-ups,” Wezeman stressed.
The largest arms importers in Europe were the UK, Norway and the Netherlands in the five-year period, while Ukraine’s imports were very limited despite armed conflict in its eastern region.
Globally, the top three arms importers were India, Saudi Arabia and Egypt in 2017–2021. India’s arms imports fell 21% in the last five years, but it still remained the largest importer globally. India is planning large-scale arms imports in the next few years from several suppliers, it added. The report noted that weapons imports played an important role in security developments in the Gulf region due to conflict in Yemen and tensions between Iran and other states. Anadolu Agency