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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

GOVERNMENTS spent $1.46 trillion in 2008 on weapons, despite econ. turmoil.

Global arms spending rises despite economic woes
World governments spent a record $1.46 trillion on upgrading their armed forces last year despite the economic downturn, with China climbing to second place behind top military spender the United States, a Swedish research group said yesterday.
Global military spending was 4 percent higher than in 2007 and up 45 percent from a decade ago, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI, said in its annual report.
"So far the global arms industry, booming from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and from spending increases by many developing countries, has shown few signs of suffering from the crisis," SIPRI said.
However, the report added that arms companies may face reduced demand if governments cut future military spending in response to rising budget deficits. It also noted U.S. arms purchases — by far the highest in the world — were expected to rise less rapidly under President Barack Obama after sharp growth during the Bush administration.
US military spending increased nearly 10 percent in 2008 to $607 billion and accounted for about 42 percent of global arms spending, SIPRI said.
The US was followed for the first time by China, which increased its military spending by 10 percent to an estimated $84.9 billion, SIPRI said. The report noted that China's military spending is hard to pinpoint because the official defense budget is deemed considerably lower than actual spending by Western defense analysts.
SIPRI researcher Sam Perlo-Freeman said China's increased spending doesn't make it the world's second strongest military power "because a lot of other countries have been at this game for a lot longer than China."
"While they are certainly seeking to increase their regional and global influence ... there is very little evidence of any hostile intent in terms of the region," he added. LinkHere


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