02 July 2015
IS the global arms market, and in particular, arms sales to Southeast Asia, becoming increasingly “commoditised”? Commoditisation refers to an economic situation in which there exists an almost total lack of meaningful differentiation between competing products and when they are, instead, sold almost entirely on the basis of price.
Commoditised products are characterised by standardised, common technology or attributes, rather than brand or capabilities uniqueness, resulting in basically a price-based competition. If arms sales to the region are increasingly a commodity business, therefore, it would result in the expanded access of Southeast Asian nations to advanced military equipment and technology.
The Southeast Asian arms market is unique in many ways. While it is relatively small – collectively worth only USD2 billion to USD3 billion (RM7.5 billion to RM11 billion) annually, according to data put out by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) – it is a rapidly growing market, and one of the more truly open and competitive markets when it comes to arms sales.
… The writer is senior fellow and coordinator of the Military Transformations Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Formerly with RAND Corp and the Asia-Pacific Centre for Security Studies, he has been writing on military and defence economic issues for more than 20 years.
IDSS / Print
Last updated on 16/11/2015