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Arms Exports

China gains ground as arms supplier, but US stays on top, SIPRI says

China has replaced France as the world's fourth-biggest exporter of arms, according to a Swedish-based peace research institute. Germany remains in third place, while the US continues to top the table.

China has climbed a rung up the ladder of the world's biggest arms suppliers, while the total volume of arms sales has grown 14 percent over the past five years, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said on Monday.

China overtook France as fourth-largest arms exporter, claiming 6 percent of the market compared with France's 5 percent.

The United States remained at the top of the arms sellers' table for 2009-2013, accounting for 29 percent of global exports, closely followed by Russia on 20 percent and Germany on 7 percent, SIPRI said.

SIPRI said the top five arms exporters collectively accounted for 74 percent of total arms exports in the period.

India stocks up on arms

India remained by far the biggest buyer of arms in the world, importing nearly three times as many weapons as its nearest rivals China and Pakistan over the last five years, SIPRI said. India replaced China in the top buyer position in 2010, as it tries to match better-equipped Chinese forces and cope with several military challenges on its borders.

Russia was the main supplier of arms to India in 2009-2013, providing 75 percent of its imports, SIPRI said.

But India was also the biggest customer for US weapons last year as it seeks to diversify its sources, according to figures released by the military information publisher IHS Jane's in February.

The US nonetheless accounted for only 7 percent of India's purchases in the 2009-2013 period, SIPRI said.

The other top arms importers were China, Pakistan the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Africa up, Europe down

Algeria, Morocco and Sudan were the main importers in Africa, with arms imports to the continent shooting up by 53 percent in 2009-2013 compared with 2004-2008.

Britain was the largest importer of major weapons in Europe, followed by Azerbaijan and Greece. But overall exports to Europe went down by 25 percent compared with 2004-2008.

SIPRI said it used a five-year cycle to even out fluctuations caused by a big order during any specific year. The institute bases its data on public sources as well as government and industry reports.

The SIPRI Arms Transfers Database does not included small arms.

tj/kms (dpa, AFP)