Hong Kong, February 25 (ANI): Imagery from 1 February’s Myanmar coup brought a reminder of the success that China’s arms exports have had in many parts of the world. Pictures from the coup showed Chinese-built WMA301 6×6 assault guns on Myanmar streets, for instance. Indeed, China is currently the fifth-largest arms exporter in the world.
China has been gaining footholds in new markets too. Data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) stated that from 2010-14 China sold to 40 different markets, but in the 2015-19 period, it had risen to 53 different countries. From 2005-09 till 2010-14, Chinese weapon sales snowballed an astonishing 133 per cent, though it has calmed down significantly since then.
From 2015-19, Asia and Oceania represented the majority of Chinese weapon sales (74 per cent), with another 16 per cent going to Africa and 6.7 per cent to the Middle East. Pakistan has been China’s largest export market since 1991, and when the USA stopped providing military aid to Islamabad, this only increased Pakistani reliance on China as its main supplier. Thus, 73 per cent of Pakistani arms purchases came from China in the 2015-19 period.
China enjoyed 5.5 per cent share of the global arms market from 2015-19, and SIPRI data revealed that its three biggest export markets from 2015-19 were Pakistan (35 per cent of Chinese sales), Bangladesh (20 per cent) and Algeria (9.9 per cent).
Significantly, China was still the fifth-largest importer of arms in 2019, most of this being equipment acquired from