The global arms trade has risen to its highest level since the Cold War, according to a study.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said that Asia and Oceania accounted for 43% of global arms imports in 2012-16, with India being the largest importer, accounting for 43% of all imports.
More than half the world's arms exports came from the USA (33 percent) and Russian Federation (23 percent) alone.
According to the SIPRI report, India was the world's largest importer of major arms during the 2012 to 2016 period, accounting for 13 percent of the global total.
The majority of other states in the region also increased arms imports, the report said. Together with China (6.2 percent), France (6 percent) and Germany (5.6 percent), they accounted for nearly 75 percent of global exports of heavy weapons.
The UK remained the biggest importer of major weapons in Europe in the 2012-2016 period, despite its inflows decreasing by 22 percent compared with the previous five year period.
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Russian Federation accounted for 23 percent of global exports during the period, with 70 percent of its sales going to four countries: India, Vietnam, China, and Algeria. "The volume transfers of major weapons has grown continuously since 2004 and increased by 8.4 per cent between 2007-11 and 2012-16". Initial deliveries of advanced combat aircraft started in the period 2012 to 2016 and further deliveries will drive import volumes up in future years.
The United States and France are the main weapons providers for the Middle East, while Russian Federation and China are the main exporters to Asia. China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei have all made territorial claims over islands in the area.
As the top arms exporter during the five years through 2016, the United States accounted for a one-third share of all weapon exports worldwide, the study said. "It is now firmly a top-tier supplier, like France and Germany which accounted for 6 per cent and 5.6 per cent, respectively", said the think-tank.
"With no regional arms control instruments in place, states in Asia continue to expand their arsenals", said Wezeman.
"Over the past five years, most states in the Middle East have turned primarily to the US and Europe in their accelerated pursuit of advanced military capabilities". The US sold military equipment and weapons to 100 countries.