STOCKHOLM – The volume of international transfers of major weapons has grown continuously since 2004 and increased by 8.4 percent between 2007–11 and 2012–16, according to new data on arms transfers published today by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute(SIPRI). Notably, transfers of major weapons in 2012–16 reached their highest volume for any five-year period since the end of the cold war.

The flow of arms increased to Asia and Oceania and the Middle East between 2007–11 and 2012–16, while there was a decrease in the flow to Europe, the Americas and Africa. The five biggest exporters — the United States, Russia, China, France, and Germany — together accounted for 74 percent of the total volume of arms exports.

Major increases in Asia 

India was the world’s largest importer of major arms in 2012–16, accounting for 13 percent of the global total. Between 2007–11 and 2012–16 it increased its arms imports by 43 percent. In 2012–16 India’s imports were far greater than those of its regional rivals China and Pakistan.

Imports by countries in South East Asia increased 6.2 percent from 2007–11 to 2012–16. Viet Nam made a particularly large jump from being the 29th largest importer in 2007–11 to the 10th largest in 2012–16, with arms imports increasing by 202 percent.

“With no regional arms control instruments in place, states in Asia continue to expand their arsenals,” said Siemon Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Program. “While China is increasingly able to substitute arms imports with indigenous products, India remains dependent on weapons technology from many willing suppliers, including Russia, the USA, European states, Israel and South Korea.”