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A New Arms Race? Explaining Recent Southeast Asian Military Acquisitions.

Contemporary Southeast Asia, 2010, April, 32, 1

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Is Southeast Asia currently in the grip of a regional arms race? On the surface, there are five main empirical developments that may suggest that the possibility for such an arms race is overwhelming and ominous. First, Singapore has recently acquired F-15 jet fighters from the United States, while Malaysia and Indonesia have bought Su-30s from Russia, and Thailand has ordered Gripens from Sweden. Second, Singapore and Malaysia have all bought new or additional submarines, which in Singapore's case have been outfitted with advanced propulsion systems for long endurance, submerged operations. Vietnam has reportedly signed a contract with Russia for the supply of 6 Kilo-class submarines. Third, in 2002, Malaysia ordered 63 heavy main battle tanks from Poland; in an apparent attempt to match this purchase, Singapore in 2007 bought approximately 100 German-made Leopard-2 tanks. Fourth, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand have all recently placed large orders for modern armoured personnel carriers (APCs) from a variety of domestic and foreign suppliers. Fifth, Singapore matched Malaysia's purchase of the ASTROS-II multiple rocket launcher (MRL) from Brazil by acquiring the HIMARS MRL system from the United States. These recent arms purchases have been accompanied by a significant growth in regional defence spending. According to data provided by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Malaysia's military budget more than doubled between 2000 and 2008, from US$1.7 billion to $3.5 billion (as measured in constant 2005 dollars). Indonesian defence spending over the same period went from $2.2 billion to $3.8 billion, a 72 per cent increase, while Thailand increased military expenditure by 43 per cent, from $2.1 billion to $3 billion. Singapore's defence budget rose 26 per cent, from $4.6 billion in 2000, to $5.8 billion in 2008 (again, in constant 2005 dollars--in current dollars, Singapore's 2008 military budget totalled around $7.5 billion). Altogether, regional military spending rose by at least 50 per cent in real terms between 2000 and 2008. (1)

A New Arms Race? Explaining Recent Southeast Asian Military Acquisitions.
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  • 2,99 €
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Politics & Current Affairs
  • Published: 01 April 2010
  • Publisher: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS)
  • Print Length: 29 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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