Countries in south-east Asia are building up their militaries by procuring weapons, and buying submarines and aircraft, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

According to the report, weapon purchases in the region doubled in the period 2005 to 2009, when compared with the five preceeding years.

Vietnam recently signed a deal to pay $2.4bn for six Russian Kilo Class submarines and a dozen Su-30MKK jet fighters equipped for maritime warfare.

Australia has plans to buy or build nine submarines and 100 F-35s to strengthen its air force.

Malaysia has paid more than $1bn for two diesel submarines from France, and Indonesia will also acquire new submarines, according to the Washington Post.

China Council for National Security Policy Studies deputy secretary-general Li Qinggong said terrorism threats, upgrading weapons and military competition in the region were the main reasons for the increase in arms spending.

On the contrary, the US and some Asian officials attribute the weapon acquisition to China’s aggressive behaviour in the south-east Asian region.