Pakistan and India are top arms buyers; US leads sales

Pakistan and India are top arms buyers; US leads sales

Washington: The US maintained its role as the leading supplier of weapons to the developing world in 2006, followed by Russia and Britain, according to a US Congressional study. Pakistan, India and Saudi Arabia were the top buyers.

The global weapons market is highly competitive, with manufacturing countries seeking both to increase profits and to expand political influence through weapons sales to developing nations that reached nearly $28.8 billion (about Rs1.34 trillion then) in 2006.

That sales total was a slight drop from the 2005 figure of $31.8 billion, a trend explained by the strain of rising fuel prices that prompted many developing states—except those that produce oil—to choose upgrading current arsenals over purchasing new weapons.

Pakistan concluded $5.1 billion in agreements to purchase arms in 2006. That total was followed by India with $3.5 billion in agreements and Saudi Arabia with $3.2 billion in deals. The combined value of arms sales worldwide to both developed and developing nations in 2006 reached $40.3 billion, a decline of nearly 13% from 2005.

In 2006, the US agreed to sell $10.3 billion in weapons to the developing world, or 35.8% of these deals worldwide, according to the study. Russia was second with $8.1 billion, or 28.1%, and Britain was third with $3.1 billion, or 10.8%.

The study uses figures in 2006 dollars, with amounts for previous years adjusted to account for inflation, to give a constant financial measurement. The report “Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations" was produced by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, an office of the Library of Congress, and presents a number of interesting observations linking arms sales and global politics.