By Mehmood-Ul-Hassan Khan
Abu Dhabi, February 20, 2011-Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum inaugurated the 10TH International Defence Exhibition and Conference IDEX 2011 in Abu Dhabi on Sunday February 20, 2011. His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces were also presented.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum shared that Abu Dhabi’s International Defence Exhibition (IDEX) is gaining prominence and wider acclaim among the world countries and companies producing weapons and defence equipments as the event provide them with a window, through which they look at the markets in the region.
He was of the view that the exhibition also represented a platform for the local, regional as well as international arms manufacturers to showcase their latest products and defence technologies. He further elaborated that it would allow the countries of the region, the Middle East and North Africa the opportunity to view these modern defence products and procure them through commercial transactions taking place in the exhibition every year.
We in the UAE do not look at IDEX or Dubai Airshow as two platforms for arms race in the region, as some claim, but see them purely in terms of trade, tourism and technology, because of the diversity in attendance and participation in these events, which have gained international fame and earned great confidence among the exhibitors and consumers he added. He said this makes the United Arab Emirates a meeting place for people of different races and a gateway between East and West, not to mention the experience and knowledge which the men of our armed forces and our police gain through mixing with the experts who arrive from all over the world.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is confident that IDEX 2011 will see a large turnout and the increase in the proportion of exhibitors and visitors because it brings with it all that is new in the world of defence industries and military equipment.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is of the opinion that IDEX has achieved high momentum, development and the volume of demand from countries, companies, factories and individuals demonstrate its success, strength and quality and positions itself as an event of economic and tourism importance as well as creates an opportunity for cross-cultural understanding. The visitors get a chance to see the cultural expressions of our country, its Arab and Islamic traditions and customs.
We in the UAE, both the people and the leaders, are proud of the reputable status of our country and its well established position on the regional and international levels. We are also proud of our young people as well as their competencies and expertise in various sectors that make them worthy of our confidence as leaders and are able to assume their responsibilities in business leadership and the tasks entrusted to them he further added.
The IDEX 2011 is being showcased under the kind patronage of the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 20-24 February 2011. The grand opening ceremony of IDEX 2011 was attended by a high-profile officials, foreign delegations and ministers. Large numbers of senior civilian and military officials along with 66 defence ministers, 64 chiefs of staff, top commanders as well as VIP guests, dignitaries, diplomats and leaders of the world defence industry attended the opening ceremony today. For the first time since IDEX’s inception in 1993, exhibitor numbers have gone past the 1,000 mark, recording 18.2 per cent growth over IDEX in 2009, to reach 1,060 exhibitors.
The UAE has achieved a global reputation for staging and organising security and defence exhibitions; this soft image is due to its grand success in hosting IDEX and the Dubai Air show. IDEX is now counted amongst the most established and prestigious international defence shows/exhibitions which provide an excellent opportunity for the manufactures and far and wide to share expertise and technological achievements and enhance their global presence.
The exhibition has a long history of growth and has served as a major influence in the armaments decisions of nations located in the Middle East, Africa, the Asia Attention from the world’s defence and homeland security industry.
IDEX is not an end in itself but a means to promote soft image of the UAE. It represents an opportunity for foreigners to visit UAE and learn about its achievements, cultural acquisitions, Arab traditions and noble Islamic values. It is also an opportunity for UAE citizens to interact with other cultures.
IDEX is the largest tri-service defence and security exhibition in the Middle East and North Africa region. The 2011 international exhibition marks the 10th edition of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference. It is organised by Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) with the collaboration of the UAE Armed Forces GHQ, IDEX 2011. It succeeded to draw more than 1000 exhibitors. Tawazun Holding is the headline sponsor for the event.
UAE arms manufacturers
More than 169 manufactures of the UAE is actively participating in the IDEX 2011. Mubadala Development Company is the largest UAE exhibitor. According to many regional as well as international military experts that United Arab Emirates has been put on the armaments industry map by the successful holding of successive IDEX
UAE is expected to achieve substantial contracts in the ongoing international exhibition. According to Major General Obaid Al Katbi, Head of Committees and Spokesman for IDEX 2011, that the value of these deals would be close to Dh18.4 billion. It is hoped that more than $ 20 billion of defence contracts will be achieved in the 10th International Defence Exhibition and Conference. Some of these deals could be signed during the IDEX 2011, which has in the past been chosen forum to announce major purchases.
Pakistan’s companies participation
Many Pakistani arms manufactures are taking part in the IDEX 2011. AERO, Al-Techniques Corporation of Pakistan, Pakistan Ordnances Factory, EPERT Engineering Services, Pakistan Defence Export Bureau, IDEAS-Pakistan and many others are actively participating this international exhibition, showcasing their diversified expertise, specific products and professional services to audiences with high hopes to earn some meaningful contracts.
Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Estonia, Libya and Taiwan are the new entrants and taking part first time in the IDEX. Germany holds the largest international country pavilion followed by those of the United States, Turkey and Italy. Rheinmetall AG, is the largest international exhibitor is from Germany.
Saif Al Hajiri, Chief Executive Officer of Tawazun Holding and the Offset Program Bureau) told Gulf News that military purchases in the GCC countries have encouraged defence manufacturers in the GCC and the Middle East to become more visible in such a strategic position.
Tawazun Hodling, the headline sponsor of Idex, is expected to launch new products and make announcements on joint ventures at Idex this year. “Our target is for our products to be of an international standard and to sell in any market,” Al Hajeri said. Ali Saeed Bin Harmal Al Daheri, Managing Director of Andec, said that the direct economic impact of this year’s edition of IDEX might exceed the ninth edition of Dh2.5 billion.
The International Defence Exhibition and Conference 2011 would now further pave the way towards mutual understanding and cooperation between the nations jointly involved in serving the global cause of peace where United Arab Emirates keeps playing its dominant role in the GCC and Middle East.