Middle East sees biggest import of arms in last 5 years


International arms sales and purchases have levelled off after years of sharp growth, with deliveries of major weapons staying at the same level between 2011-2015 and 2016-2020, according to a leading defence think-tank.

The United States, France and Germany substantially increased their weapons exports in the last five years, according to a new report, released on Monday, by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The biggest growth in arms imports was seen in the Middle East where countries imported 25 percent more weapons in the past five years than in the 2011-2015 period.

SIPRI said this reflected regional strategic competition among Gulf states. Saudi Arabia increased its arms imports by 61 percent while Qatar did so by 361 percent.

But the total volume of global arms deliveries flat-lined, largely because of a fall in Russian and Chinese weapons exports.

Still, SIPRI cautioned that international arms transfers remain close to the highest level since the end of the Cold War in 1991.

“It is too early to say whether the period of rapid growth in arms transfers of the past two decades is over,” said Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme. “For example.—Agencies

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