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Friday, 7 February, 2003, 06:15 GMT
Poor countries raise weapons budgets
Agni missile
A total of $852bn was spent on arms in 1999

A report by the US State Department says developing countries are spending a record amount of money on weapons.

The study looks at military spending worldwide at the end of the 1990s, and reveals an 18% increase in expenditure by developing countries over the previous decade.

Pakistan's Agosta-9OB
Pakistan's Agosta submarines cost about $1.2bn
The State Department study reveals a baffling array of figures on defence spending around the world, but some interesting trends emerge from the statistical fog.

The end of the Cold War led to a collapse in military investment in Eastern Europe.

But in the subsequent decade it grew significantly in China, India and Pakistan.

The report notes that spending on arms in South Asia rose by an average of 5% a year throughout the 1990s, reflecting the huge military build up as tensions grew between Delhi and Islamabad.

South Asia

In 1999, the world's three biggest arms importers were Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Japan, though as the report points out, the United States remains by far the biggest purchaser of weapons, making most of them on its own soil.

A global total of $852bn was spent on arms and armies in 1999.

But despite the enormity of this sum - it represents a fall of more than a third during the 1990s.

The number of people serving in uniform dropped by a quarter.

See also:

20 Jan 03 | South Asia
20 Jan 03 | South Asia
20 Aug 01 | Americas
16 Mar 00 | Africa
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