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China second biggest arms spender in world: SIPRI

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LONDON (PTI): China has emerged as world's second biggest weapons purchaser after the US as the global military spending touched a new high in 2008, boosted by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and combat against terrorism.

China increased its arms spending by 10 per cent to an estimated USD 83.9 billion last year as Beijing commenced building of new range of highly sophisticated nuclear submarines, stealth warships, new generation of fighter planes and weaponry to fight "Informationalized warfare", according to a leading Swedish peace research group.

China's defence spending formed almost six per cent of the world's arms trade pushing it ahead of countries like France and Britain, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said.

World's arms expenditure totaled USD 1464 billion last year, a rise of almost 45 per cent from a decade ago. SIPRI said the spending across most of Asia including India, South Korea and Taiwan accounted for the bulk of the increase.

The war on terrorism, SIPRI said, had encouraged several countries to raise their defence spending by purchasing ultra-modern surveillance and detection equipment. It said the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost an extra USD 930 billion to the US.

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