'US world's biggest arms seller'
Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:1AM
The United States has topped the list of global arms sellers, with Israel, UAE and India purchasing the bulk of arms including fighter jets, says a think tank.
According to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the US sold 341 combat planes between 2005 and 2009, up from 286 jets sold during the previous five-year period, while Russia sold 219 planes followed by France, China and Sweden, AFP reported on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the biggest buyers of fighter jets are Israel, United Arab Emirates and India, collectively accounting for nearly one third of all global arms purchases.
The independent Swedish institute has also warned that the spiraling sales of fighter jets could further destabilize many parts of the world.
"While combat aircraft are often presented as one of the most important weapons needed for defense, these same aircraft give countries possessing them the potential to easily and with little warning strike deep into neighboring countries," said Siemon Wezeman, a senior fellow at the SIPRI Arms Transfers Program.
The study has pointed to the Israeli airstrike against Syria in September 2007 as the prime example of such threats hanging over the peace and stability across the world.
SIPRI also turned the spotlight on lucrative contracts as well as stupendous amount of cash being transacted for selling and buying the combat aircraft, saying "the more advanced aircraft cost over 40 million dollars (29 million euros) each and often substantially more."
According to the report, more than 50 countries -- Israel (82), Jordan (36), China (45) and Yemen (37) -- purchased a total of 995 new and second-hand fighter planes between 2005 and 2009.