– Asia tops other regions when it comes to weapon imports, according to a study released on Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
Over the past five years, Asia and Oceania accounted for 44 per cent in volume of conventional arm imports, the institute said.
That compared with 19 per cent for Europe, 17 per cent for the Middle East, 11 per cent for North and South America, and 9 per cent for Africa, said the report.
India was the first world importer over the period, accounting for 10 per cent in weapons volume.
It was followed by South Korea (6 per cent), China and Pakistan (both 5 per cent), and Singapore (4 per cent), according to the independent institute which specialises in arms control and disarmament matters.
These five countries accounted for 30 per cent of the volume of international arms imports, said SIPRI.
"India's imports of major weapons increased by 38 per cent between 2002-2006 and 2007-11," SIPRI said.
"Notable deliveries of combat aircraft during 2007-11 included 120 Su-30MKs and 16 MiG-29Ks from Russia and 20 Jaguar Ss from the United Kingdom," it said.
While India was the world's largest importer, its neighbour Pakistan was the third largest.
Pakistan took delivery of "a significant quantity of combat aircraft during this period: 50 JF-17s from China and 30 F-16s", the report added.
Both countries "have taken and will continue to take delivery of large quantities of tanks", it also noted.
"Major Asian importing states are seeking to develop their own arms industries and decrease their reliance on external sources of supply," said Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.
China, which in 2006 and 2007 was the world's top arms importer, has now dropped to fourth place.
China is however the sixth largest world exporter of weapons behind, the United States, Russia, Germany, France, and Britain.
In Europe, Greece was the largest importer between 2007 and 2011, the institute said.
Between 2002 and 2011, Syria increased its imports of weapons by 580 per cent, while Venezuela boosted its imports over the same period by 555 per cent, it reported.
Morocco saw its own imports increase by 443 per cent, it added.
The volume of international transfers of major conventional weapons was 24 per cent higher in the period 2007-11 compared to the 2002-2006 period. -- AFP