them — 55% — going to Pakistan.
China has overtaken Britain to become the world’s fifth largest arms exporter with 5% of the global trade, its highest position since the Cold War, a Swedish think tank said on Monday. Over 55% of China’s arms exports are to one country: Pakistan.
It is the first time Britain has not figured in the top five weapons suppliers since 1950, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a report.
China’s arms exports in 2008-2012 grew by 162% compared to the previous five years, with most of them — 55% — going to Pakistan.
“China’s rise has been driven primarily by large-scale arms acquisitions by Pakistan,” Paul Holtom, a 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.”
Pakistan has long been China’s key ally in South Asia. The report also named Myanmar, Bangladesh and Venezuela as importers of Chinese arms.
China has defended its rules on overseas weapons sales following the report. Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Monday that such sales follow domestic laws and UN guidelines.
Hong said weapons sales have to be justified by the legitimate needs of the recipient and must not harm peace, security or stability.
The Inter Services Press Relations (ISPR) directorate, the public relations wing of the Pakistan military has confirmed that China is “one of Pakistan’s biggest partners” in terms of cooperation in the defence field.
In 2010, Pakistan signed agreements worth over $10 billion with China, many of which were linked to cooperation in the field of defence.
But the ISPR did not confirm whether China is the biggest partner and whether Pakistan’s imports most of its defense equipment from China.
“We have three major partners. These are the US, China and France.”
General (retd) Talat Masood, a defence analyst, said that his belief was that US continues to remain the main source of Pakistan’s defence hardware.
“I think given the ongoing military arrangements with the US, it is still Pakistan’s No 1 source for military hardware. This also includes money spent on military programs by the US government.”
‘We targeted Japan’
Senior Chinese military officials have admitted for the first time that a frigate locked its radar on a Japanese destroyer during the two nations’ spat over disputed islands, Kyodo News reported today.
In one of the more serious incidents in an escalating row over ownership of the islands in the East China Sea, Tokyo said the Chinese vessel effectively had a Japanese ship in its sights earlier this year.