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Asia, Persian Gulf Lead Arms Imports as China Increases Sales

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March 17 (Bloomberg) -- Countries in Asia and the Persian Gulf were the biggest importers of arms from 2009 to 2013 as China cemented its position as a major exporter.

India led China, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in imports in the period, and those countries accounted for 32 percent of the total, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or Sipri, said in a report today. International transfers of major weapons rose 14 percent from the previous five years.

“Chinese, Russian and U.S. arms supplies to South Asia are driven by both economic and political considerations,” said Siemon Wezeman, an author of the report. “In particular, China and the USA appear to be using arms deliveries to Asia to strengthen their influence in the region.”

China a year ago pushed the U.K. out of the top five weapons exporters for the first time in more than 60 years, and it has now leapfrogged France to fourth place, Sipri said. Germany retained third place, while the U.S. and Russia combined continue to export more than half of global arms.

India doubled its share of imports to account for 14 percent of the total in 2009 to 2013, and Pakistan’s share climbed from 2 percent to 5 percent, lifting them to the No. 1 and No. 3 spots, respectively.

While the U.S.’s main exports were combat aircraft, Russia focused on ships, with deliveries including an aircraft carrier to India and the only nuclear-powered submarine exported in the period.

Germany remained the largest exporter of submarines, and at 650 units delivered trailed only Russia in tank exports. Three-quarters of Chinese exports went to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, and its share of global arms exports rose to 6 percent from 2 percent in the previous five-year period.

Exports to Africa rose 53 percent, and Algeria, Morocco and Sudan were the biggest buyers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Weiss in Frankfurt at rweiss5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net Robert Valpuesta, Keith Campbell

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