March 21, 2013

Exports to Pakistan spur China to become world’s 5th largest arms supplier: Report

China's arms export­s grew by 162% primar­ily due to large-scale acquis­itions by Pakist­an.
Published: March 18, 2013
BEIJING: China became the world's fifth largest arms exporter with five per cent of the global trade, primarily due to large-scale acquisitions by Pakistan, a Swedish think tank said on Monday.
China's arms exports in 2008-2012 grew by 162 per cent compared to the previous five years, with most of them – 55 per cent – going to Pakistan, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a report.

"China's rise has been driven primarily by large-scale arms acquisitions by Pakistan," Paul Holtom, a research director at SIPRI said in a press release.

"A number of recent deals indicate that China is establishing itself as a significant arms supplier to a growing number of important recipient states."

Pakistan has long been China's key ally in South Asia. The report also named Myanmar, Bangladesh and Venezuela as importers of Chinese arms.

China had replaced UK on the list, gaining its highest position since the Cold War. It is the first time Britain has not figured in the top five weapons suppliers since 1950.

The global arms trade grew by 17 per cent in 2008-2012 over the previous period, the report said, with the US and Russia still the main exporters, holding market shares of 30 per cent and 26 per cent respectively.

They were followed by Germany and France in the rankings.

European countries beset by economic troubles were attempting to re-sell recently acquired combat aircraft to cut costs, the report added, with Portugal and Spain looking for buyers for F-16 and Eurofighter aircraft respectively.

East Asian countries are seeking to boost their naval capabilities amid territorial disputes, the document said, adding that the top five importers of major conventional weapons worldwide were all Asian.

China has boosted its domestic weapons production since it faced bans on western military imports following the crushed Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. Beijing does not release arms export figures.

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