Europe picks up more arms even as global weapon imports drop (SIPRI)

SIPRI’s has released its latest report titled “Trends in International Arms Transfers, 2022”

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. Established in 1966, SIPRI provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public. SIPRI defines major arms as aircrafts, warships, tanks, artillery, missiles and various heavy defence systems. SIPRI uses the Trends Indicator Values (TIV) methodology to present the figures on global arms imports.

Highlights of the report:

  1. Ukraine was the third largest importer of arms in 2022 (sharp increase of imports from U.S. and Europe in the latest period after Russian invasion).
  2. Europe’s share in global volume of arms transfers increased significantly by 47% in the five-year period between 2013-17 and 2018-22.
  3. The global volume of international arms transfers fell by 5.1% between 2018-22.
  4. The share of West Asia, Americas, Asia, and Oceania decreased marginally in the last five years.
  5. U.S. arms exports increased by 14% between 2013-17 and 2018-22. It accounted for 40% of global arms exports in 2018-22.
  6. Russia’s arms exports fell by 31% between 2013-17 and 2018-22.

Why European countries has increased their arms imports?

  1. Security concerns: Many European countries have increased arms imports due to security concerns, including conflicts in Ukraine, instability in the Middle East, and tensions with Russia.
  2. Modernization: European countries are also increasing arms imports as part of modernization efforts, which involve replacing outdated or obsolete weapons systems with new equipment and technologies.
  3. Geopolitical considerations: Some countries may view arms imports as a way to build strategic relationships with other countries, such as purchasing weapons from the United States to strengthen ties or signal commitment to NATO.

Way Forward:

The prioritization should shift towards investing in human development by reducing defense spending. To achieve global peace, reduce armed conflicts, and foster sustainable development, disarmament is an essential step. While there has been some success in eliminating certain weapons, significant obstacles still exist. It is imperative that governments, organizations, and individuals unite in their efforts to promote disarmament through advocacy, education, and action. Ultimately, the aim should be to create a safer and more secure future for everyone.

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