New SIPRI data on international arms transfers reflect arms race concerns
(Stockholm) Concerns about brewing 'arms races' in a number of regions of tension around the world are reflected in new data on international arms transfers published today by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
|Combat aircraft accounted for 27 per cent of the volume of international arms transfers during 2005-2009. Orders and deliveries of these potentially destabilizing weapon systems have led to arms race concerns in the following regions of tension: the Middle East, North Africa, South America, South Asia and South East Asia.|
'SIPRI data show that resource-rich states have purchased a considerable quantity of expensive combat aircraft', states Dr Paul Holtom, Director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme. 'Neighbouring rivals have reacted to these acquisitions with orders of their own. One can question whether this is an appropriate allocation of resources in regions with high levels of poverty.'
Transfers to South America were 150 per cent higher during the last five years compared to the beginning of the millennium, following a significant upswing in both military spending and orders for arms in recent years.
Mark Bromley, SIPRI Researcher and Latin America expert, says that 'we see evidence of competitive behaviour in arms acquisitions in South America. This clearly shows we need improved transparency and confidence-building measures to reduce tension in the region.'
South East Asia
Transfers to South East Asia have increased dramatically between the periods 2000-2004 and 2005-2009. Indonesian, Singaporean and Malaysian arms imports have increased by 84 per cent, 146 per cent and 722 per cent respectively. Singapore is the first ASEAN member to be included in the SIPRI Top 10 arms importers since the end of the Vietnam War.
Acquisitions of long-range combat aircraft and warships by these states have influenced the procurement plans of neighbouring states. SIPRI Asia expert Siemon Wezeman notes that 'In 2009, Viet Nam became the latest South East Asian state to order long-range combat aircraft and submarines. The current wave of South East Asian acquisitions could destabilize the region, jeopardizing decades of peace.'
Other notable developments