Saudi Arabia overtook India to become the world’s biggest weapons importer in 2014, a year when global defense trade rose for the sixth straight year to a record $64.4 billion, research company IHS said on Sunday.
The growth in supplies was due to expanding demand from emerging economies for military aircraft and rising tensions in the Middle East and Asia Pacific, IHS, a provider of global market and economic information, said.
The United States remained the top defense exporter in 2014, ahead of Russia, France, Britain and Germany, a top-five ranking unchanged from 2013, IHS said in an annual defense trade report.
“Growth in Saudi Arabia has been dramatic and, based on previous orders, these numbers are not going to slow down,” an IHS statement quoted its senior defense analyst Ben Moores as saying.
Saudi imports rose 54 percent between 2013 and 2014, and based on planned deliveries imports will grow 52 percent to $9.8 billion in 2015, IHS said, without stating the 2014 sales. One out of every $7 spent on defense imports in 2015 will be spent by Saudi Arabia, it said.
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