Stockholm, March 19 (IANS/RIA Novosti) China has become the world’s fifth largest exporter of major conventional arms, replacing Britain, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
This is the first time China has turned one of the top five weapons’ exporters since the end of the cold war, said SIPRI Monday in a report containing new data on international arms transfers.
Paul Holtom, director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme, said China’s rise was primarily driven by “large-scale arms acquisitions by Pakistan”.
Some “recent deals indicate that China is establishing itself as a significant arms supplier to a growing number of important recipient states”, he added.
According to SIPRI, the five largest suppliers of major conventional weapons in 2008-2012 were the US, which accounted for 30 percent of global arms exports, Russia (26 percent), Germany (7 percent), France (6 percent) and China (5 percent).
Overall, international transfers of major conventional arms grew by 17 percent between 2003-2007 and 2008-2012.
Britain has for the first time been excluded from the top five since at least 1950.
“China’s displacement of the UK is the first change in the composition of the top five exporters in 20 years,” the report said.
SIPRI noted that Chinese exports of major conventional weapons increased 162 percent between 2003-2007 and 2008-2012, and the country’s share of international arms exports grew from two to five percent.
SIPRI is an independent analytical centre conducting research into conflicts, armaments and arms control.