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Top Arms Importing Countries

Try to name the twenty countries that import the most weapons by dollar value.
For the ten-year period, 2010–2019
According to SIPRI
Quiz by cuotak
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Last updated: November 19, 2020
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First submittedAugust 15, 2013
Times taken36,645
Average score75.0%
Rating4.64
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Imports
Country
33.0 bil
India
25.4 bil
Saudi Arabia
12.4 bil
China
12.2 bil
Australia
11.1 bil
United Arab Emirates
11.1 bil
Egypt
10.1 bil
Pakistan
Imports
Country
9.85 bil
South Korea
9.75 bil
Algeria
7.71 bil
Turkey
7.55 bil
United States
7.46 bil
Iraq
6.75 bil
Vietnam
5.83 bil
Singapore
Imports
Country
5.62 bil
Qatar
5.23 bil
Indonesia
4.64 bil
United Kingdom
4.47 bil
Morocco
4.07 bil
Japan
3.90 bil
Israel
48 Comments
+42
Level 31
Dec 30, 2013
What the heck is Singapore doing with all those weapons!!? They are less than 300 sq mi/ 750 sq km. Also they are surrounded by Malaysia and Ocean. Are they waiting for Japan to re-invade?
+20
Level 37
Dec 13, 2017
Probably importing the guns, testing them, fixing them, improving on them, etc etc
+19
Level 47
Jun 7, 2020
Import fix export. That country is almost totally a port. It lives on trade.
+6
Level 70
Nov 19, 2020
While it true for most anything what comes to Singapore, this is apparently not the case for weapons. According to the source, Singapore is basically not exporting any weapons. At least not legally.
+9
Level 89
Nov 20, 2020
A lot of money doesnt mean a lot of weapons. Singapore is the kind of country that buys high quality weapons (not like North Korea who just buys high quantities of weapons)
+8
Level 68
Dec 8, 2020
Singapore does export arms as well.

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/singapore-is-worlds-20th-biggest-arms-exporter

Regarding why Singapore imports arms:

Historically, Singapore has always felt vulnerable being surrounded by larger neighbours who are not necessarily allies. Singapore became an independent country after an unceremonious split from Malaysia. Bilateral-relations between Singapore and Indonesia were tense in the 1960s. Due to its small size, there is no hinterland for defence and any direct conflict would be devastating. Interestingly, Singapore's military was also modelled after Israeli's in the early days, and the two countries are known to have a shared security relationship (perhaps seeing the similarity of situations they were both in, at least at that point of time).

+1
Level 41
Apr 15, 2023
Thanks for the info. I would never have guessed Singapore.
+1
Level 66
May 16, 2023
Looks like Singapore has 4 f35's & is buying 8 more. And is buying some submarines from Germany. I don't know what they do in the SCS. If they're worried about China then I assume they need defense pacts, not arms. I guess it's nice to have the ability to intercept foreign planes, at the least. I would've thought a Navy/Coastguard would be more useful to them than Airforce.
+1
Level 45
Feb 4, 2024
I don't see your point here. Singapore's size is exactly why it needs a strong military to survive in dire circumstances. Malaysia Indonesia Thailand are all way bigger than Singapore, they could pose as significant security threats to Singapore's sovereignty should circumstances arrive, even if it's just hyperthetical, one can never take too many chances.
+6
Level 85
Jun 16, 2017
Surprised to see a couple of these on here - most notably, China and the US, since I generally think of them as exporters rather than importers (as far as weapons are concerned).
+18
Level 91
Jun 16, 2017
It's not a net calculation - you don't subtract the amount you import from the amount you export to come up with a total. The US can sell missile guidance systems to South Korea while also importing ammunition from that same country.
+10
Level 21
Jan 31, 2018
The US imports a lot of guns from European companies for civilian use. Glock, Baretta, H&K. Not to mention some of the military arms that come from allied countries
+2
Level 67
Jun 10, 2019
Spot on. The SAW, M9, and many more are all imported.
+2
Level 74
Dec 7, 2020
Yipee! Always nice to see what harm a small country like Austria can do.
+2
Level 61
Oct 14, 2017
Greece at 15?
+3
Level 89
Dec 13, 2017
Greece is a western, European, country close to Eastern Europe, Russia, Turkey, Middle East (Israel, Syria) and Africa (Libya and Egypt). Also lots of refugees enter Europe via Greece since it's the first country on their path, so maybe they also count military ships as "weapons" in order to patrol the mediterranean sea
+4
Level 61
Dec 13, 2017
Well, the refugee flow stopped since the EU made a dodgy deal with Turkey.

And the Greek state is basically under budget control until 2037, being forced to basically sell any government agency worth selling, restricting all costs. So large military spending is peculiar.

+1
Level 45
Feb 4, 2024
Without a strong navy and air force, Turkey could easily take over all of the agean sea(basically all within Turkey's ballistic range)

This is just one of many confront scenarios that Greece faces as part of the crossroad between three continents. Take a look at the map and the actual question should be how did Greece even manage to keep this many islands from Turkey after their independence from Turkish rule.

+3
Level 72
Nov 19, 2020
+ tackling Turkish expansionism.
+2
Level 73
Dec 13, 2017
Not necessarily military spending? Athens is a major trading port.

Also, building up numbers in the military (at EU expense) is a strategy to get more people off welfare

+7
Level 75
Oct 15, 2018
Try being next to Turkey, Albania, FYROM and Bulgaria. All former enemies of Greece and most of them still claiming greek soil. Turkey alone is an 80mil people islamic powerhouse under the rule of a dictator who wants to reinstate the ottoman empire.
+1
Level 72
Nov 19, 2020
Bulgaria is a close ally nowadays. The other three are still crazy, however, North Macedonia since signing the name deal has abandoned it's rubbish expansionist ambitions.
+5
Level 59
Dec 8, 2020
How is Albania 'crazy'?
+2
Level 51
Oct 24, 2017
Officially *
+5
Level 62
Dec 13, 2017
I don't know how many quizzes I do not type "Singapore" because I think "oh no, it is so small as to be here". Yet it is ¬¬
+33
Level 64
Dec 13, 2017
Singapore is my default answer, as in:

Who hit the most home runs in the 1930s? Singapore

What pastry is often eaten with tomato soup in Mali? Singapore

What treaty was signed by both France and Bhutan? Singapore

I'm sure you get the Singapore.

+4
Level 68
Dec 13, 2017
Same here! Which cocktail contains lemon juice, gin and cherry brandy? Which dish has curried noodles with shrimp, pork and vegetables? Which country has the biggest Yakult bottle in South-East Asia? That's right.
+2
Level 74
Dec 13, 2017
Turkey. Always Turkey.
+2
Level 73
Dec 14, 2017
Awarded Best Actor in 1973? Singapore.
+4
Level 86
Nov 3, 2018
Who holds back the electric car? Who makes Steve Guttenberg a star?
+3
Level 84
Nov 19, 2020
Boxers or briefs? Singapore.
+2
Level 58
Dec 15, 2017
Strange not to see Armenia on this list
+2
Level 77
Jan 17, 2020
It doesn't have much dosh.
+4
Level 72
Nov 19, 2020
They are still refurbishing their Soviet era stockpile. Contrary I would expect to see Azerbaijan.
+4
Level 69
Mar 7, 2019
To answer the questions about Singapore: there is a high level of piracy in the Straight of Malacca between the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra. Singapore needs to military intervene to keep the area safe for shipping. If it doesn't do so, shipping companies will use other routes (discussions about openning a canal through the Thai part of the Malay Peninsula) and Singapore will see a decline in its port activities, which is one of its main ressources.
+2
Level 71
Sep 2, 2019
Hmm, if my career plans ever fall through, being a pirate in Singapore sounds both fun and lucrative!
+13
Level ∞
Nov 19, 2020
Keep in mind that Singapore is an enthusiastic advocate of both capital and corporal punishment. Committing crimes in Norway or Seattle seems like a better bet.
+1
Level 52
Dec 7, 2020
Singaporean Gangsters. Not a bad gig, gotta say.
+3
Level 71
Feb 7, 2021
Yeeaaaaah, but running Oslo's criminal underworld just doesn't have the same ring to it.
+1
Level 66
May 16, 2023
It looks like Singapore is spending some money on subs and f35's though - those aren't usually what I expect to see combating pirates
+2
Level 72
Nov 19, 2020
I thought the US is self-sufficient.
+6
Level 70
Nov 19, 2020
The US weapon imports are dwarfed by a factor of 13 by the US weapon exports. There is a good chance that most of the US re-imports are actually US weapons. ;-)
+2
Level 71
Feb 7, 2021
Everyone's talking about Singapore, but I'm more confused by Australia. Why does a peaceful, remote, sparsely populated island country feel a need to spend so much on weapons? Is it just that they don't make weapons themselves? Or are those emus really getting to them?
+1
Level 56
Oct 17, 2021
I believe it's mainly to bolster the navy. The ships are rather expensive but they're the best option for defense when it comes to a nation surrounded on all sides by the sea. Plus as an Australian whenever I hear talk on the news, from politicians and just in general conversation about large military expenditure in Australia it's usually about a naval vessel or occasionally high tech planes
+1
Level 66
May 16, 2023
They're a trustworthy ally in a strategically important location to combat China/India. US/Europe can't afford to have them do nothing. I've heard five eyes talked about as being indicative of that bond; I don't know how true that is. I guess you can look at the recent sub sales and think for yourself.
+2
Level 20
Apr 25, 2021
oof i forgot 5 countries
+2
Level 51
Feb 25, 2022
I'm surprised Taiwan isn't here
+1
Level 66
May 16, 2023
Seems surprising not to see Russia. And Brazil/Argentina/Colombia/Venezuela. I guess Venezuela is the only one with strained relations between any others. And the big Saharan countries. Maybe they lack the money to buy, or capability to engage in a full-scale war with one another. I'd expect Ethiopia at the very least to be concerned with arming itself.

And DPRK/Iran. I assume it's just not counted.

I wonder what the USA imports. My guess is token stuff from NATO countries, mostly for their benefit. Or feigned financial support to countries like Israel.