Global Arms Sales Climb to Post Cold War Peak

Romanian Army soldiers deploy a HAWK PIP III R ground-to-air missile launch pad during a joint military exercise with the U.S. Army, November 8, 2016. Global arms sales have risen to levels of their post Cold War peak. Inquam Photos/Ovidiu Micsik/Reuters

Large arms supply and demand rose to a new post-Cold War height last year, with the U.S. and Russia topping the chart as the biggest suppliers, according to research by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The study found that global transfers increased over the last five years to the highest volume out of any five-year period since before the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Middle East region nearly doubled imports in the meantime.

According to SIPRI, between 2012 and 2016 arms deliveries rose by 8.4 percent.

More than half the world's arms exports came from the U.S. (33 percent) and Russia (23 percent) alone. Alongside with China, France and Germany made up the five responsible for 74 percent of all major arms supplies. India and Saudi Arabia were the main importers.

India alone received 13 percent of arms transfers globally, outpacing regional military powers China and Pakistan.

Siemon Wezeman, senior researcher at SIPRI's arms and military expenditure program said Asia was the growth region for arms sales, accounting for 43 percent of global imports since 2012.

"With no regional arms control instruments in place, states in Asia continue to expand their arsenals," he said Monday. "Vietnam, in particular, dramatically increased imports by 202 percent, which puts it in the list of 10 largest importers compared to its hitherto position in the 29th place."

"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," Wezeman added.