- The Washington Times - Monday, March 9, 2020

The U.S. share of the international arms trade has grown dramatically in recent years. From 2015-2019, the nation’s export of military hardware amounted to a 76 percent increase over Russia, the world’s second-largest arms exporter.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the U.S. has supplied military armaments to 96 countries, with Saudi Arabia being the largest recipient.

“Half of U.S. arms exports in the past five years went to the Middle East and half of those went to Saudi Arabia,” said Pieter D. Wezeman, a senior researcher at the Stockholm-based institute. “At the same time, demand for the U.S.A.’s advanced military aircraft increased, particularly in Europe, Australia, Japan and Taiwan.”

While other countries such as France also saw an increase in the arms trade, Russia’s share decreased by 18 percent between 2010-2019, analysts said.

“Russia has lost traction in India - the main long-term recipient of Russian major arms - which has led to a sharp reduction in arms exports,” said SIPRI analyst Alexandra Kuimova.

The decrease was not offset by an increase in Russian arms sales to Egypt and Iraq, officials said.

India was the second-largest arms importer over the past five years with Pakistan - its neighbor and often bitter rival - coming in at 11th.

“As in previous years, in 2019 Indian and Pakistan - which are nuclear-armed states - attacked each other using an array of imported major arms, said Siemon T. Wezeman, a senior researcher at the institute. “Many of the world’s largest arms exporters have supplied these two states for decades, often exporting arms to both sides.”

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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