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Global arms trade is flourishing, according to think tank

The global arms trade has steadily increased in volume over the past five years, driven by an almost doubling of imports in the Middle East and strong growth in demand in Asia, new figures suggest.

Five countries - the United States, Russia, China, France and Germany - accounted for 74% of the total arms exports, according to a Swedish think tank.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said that Asia and Oceania accounted for 43% of global arms imports in 2012-16, with India being the largest importer, accounting for 43% of all imports.

It was followed by Saudi Arabia, which saw a huge increase compared to the previous five years.

The largest exporter, the US, increased arms exports by 21%, with almost half going to the Middle East, the think tank said.

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