Global arms sales dropped sharply last year as the world's governments struggled in the economic downturn, according to a new study, the New York Times reported.
The total value of all arms transfer agreements in 2010 was $40.4 billion, a decline of 38 percent from $65.2 billion in 2009 and the lowest total since 2003, according to the report by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, a division of the US Library of Congress.
In 2010, India ranked first among all developing nations weapons purchasers, concluding $5.8 billion in weapons deals. Taiwan ranked second with $2.7 billion in such agreements and Saudi Arabia ranked third with $2.2 billion.
Other major buyers were Egypt, Israel, Algeria, Syria, South Korea, Singapore and Jordan.
"Worldwide weapons sales declined generally in 2010 in response to the constraints created by the tenuous state of the global economy," wrote Richard F. Grimmett, a security specialist and author of the report.
"In view of budget difficulties faced by many purchasing nations, they chose to defer or limit the purchase of new major weapons systems," he wrote. "Some nations chose to limit their buying to upgrades of existing systems or to training and support services."
The US ranked first in worldwide arms sales in 2010, with $21.3 billion or 52.7 percent of these sales, a drop from $22.6 billion in 2009. In second place was Russia, with $7.8 billion or 19.3 percent of the market, a decline from $12.8 billion in 2009.
The report found that the value of all arms transfer deals with developing nations in 2010 was nearly $30.7 billion. This was a decline from $45.1 billion in 2009.