- Associated Press - Monday, February 20, 2017

HELSINKI (AP) - A Swedish think tank says that the global arms trade has steadily increased in volume the past five years, propelled by an almost doubling of arms imports in the Middle East and strong growth in demand in Asia.

Five countries - United States, Russia, China, France, Germany - accounted for 74 percent of the total arms exports.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said Monday that Asia and Oceania accounted for 43 percent of global arms imports in 2012-16, with India being the largest importer accounting for 43 percent of all imports. It was followed by Saudi Arabia with an increase of 212 percent compared to the previous five years.

The largest exporter, USA, increased arms exports by 21 percent, with almost half going to the Middle East.

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