March 20, 2011:
Arms exports are big business, with nearly $50 billion of sales a year. The biggest importer is now India, representing about nine percent of sales (and 80 percent of that coming from Russia). China used to be the top importer, but has steadily increased their own production (often using stolen Russian technology) and now represents only six percent of world arms imports (the same amount as much smaller South Korea imports). Next comes impoverished Pakistan, with five percent (much of it paid for by the United States.)
Some 43 percent of arms exports go to Asia (mostly China, Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan). The Middle East (largely Israel and the Arab Gulf states) gets 17 percent, with Europe getting 21 percent, Africa seven percent and the Americans 12 percent. The United States represents about 30 percent of these sales.