China has overtaken Britain to become the world’s fifth-largest arms exporter, a Sweden-based think tank said today.
China’s arms exports in 2008-2012 grew by 162% compared to the previous five years, with 55% going to its key ally, Pakistan, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said.
China accounts for 5% of the global arms trade, but it has a long way to go before it impacts the United States and Russia, which account for 30% and 26% of weapons exports respectively, the report said.
“China’s rise has been driven primarily be large-scale arms acquisitions by Pakistan,” Paul Holtom, research director at SIPRI said in a press release.
“A number of recent deals indicate that China is establishing itself as a significant arms supplier to a growing number of important recipient states.”
The report marks China’s highest ranking since the cold war and this is the first time Britain has not figured in the top five weapons suppliers. Germany and France ranked third and fourth on the arms exporter list.
China’s rising military power and its secretive nature has become a concern in the region amid Beijing’s increasing assertiveness in its claims on disputed territories.