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'India main military spender in S Asia'

China and India account for 40% of the spending, says Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

world Updated: Jun 11, 2007 17:23 IST

Global military spending, mainly driven by the US and its "war on terrorism", rose to a new high in 2006, with India the main military spender in South Asia, a peace institute said on Monday.

Last year, nations around the world spent $1,204 billion (current rates) in military expenditures or $184 per capita, said the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The increase was 3.5 per cent in real terms on 2005 and 37 per cent on the 10-year-period 1997-2006, the SIPRI Yearbook said.

It said India remained the main military spender in South Asia. And China and India accounted for 40 per cent of the region's spending.

India and China were also the world's largest importers. Other large importers were Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

China surpassed Japan as the biggest military spender in Asia, and became the world's fourth largest military spender in 2006.

Combined arms sales from the world's top 100 companies, not including China, totalled $290 billion for 2005, the latest year covered by SIPRI.

Of the 100 companies, 40 were US-based and accounted for 63 per cent of arms sales. The 32 European companies had a 29 per cent share. Nine companies in Russia accounted for 2 per cent of sales.

Companies in Japan, Israel and India had most of the remainder.

The US accounted for some 62 per cent or $26 billion of the total $39 billion increase in world military expenditure in 2006.

The US had a 46 per cent share of world military spending. The other top four military spenders - Britain, France, China and Japan - each accounted for 4 to 5 per cent.

In its overview, SIPRI said that Western Europe and Central America were the only regions with a decrease in military expenditure in 2006.

Russia's military expenditure rose by almost 12 per cent in real terms last year, a trend that started in 1998.

In the Middle East, accurate figures for spending were hard to come by but Saudi Arabia remained the largest regional spender, followed by Israel and Iran, SIPRI said.

In Africa, Algeria remained a leading military spender that in 2006 signed arms deals with Russia worth $10.5 billion.

The US and Russia were the world's largest arms exporters 2002-06, accounting for some 30 per cent each.

In its annual outlook, the institute said there were 17 major armed conflicts (defined as at least 1,000 killed in battle) in 2006. Asia was the region with the most armed conflicts.

The yearbook also contained chapters on peacekeeping operations, which reached a new high in the number of personnel deployed, attempts to contain the spread of nuclear weapons, energy and security.