KARACHI: The IDEAS 2018 witnessed the inking of a document of understanding (DoU) between Pakistan and Turkey for effective countering of the rising cybersecurity threat.
The DoU was signed between the Air University Islamabad and Turkey's Savunma Teknolojileri Muhendislik (STM) at a conference ‘Self-reliance through Research and Development’ organised by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on the third day of the IDEAS 2018 at the Karachi Expo Centre.
As part of the agreement, Rokestan AS, an establishment of the Turkish Armed Force Foundation, is expected to assist Pakistan with air-to-air, ground-to-ground and anti-tank UMTAS and OMTAS missile technology.
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The Turkish delegation under the Presidency of the Defence Industries of Turkey presented more than 25 private enterprises and defence export organisations.
“Evolution of threats over a period of time, combined with dangers of hybrid and asymmetric warfare, has made innovation cardinal to the rapidly changing defence needs, which can only be met via investment in research and development,” according to the speakers at the conference.
The speakers included Sri Lankan Air Force Air Commodore Udeni Rajapaksa, Chief of Systems Department of the Turkish Air Force Brigadier General Jamal Balicki, Chief of the Air Staff of the Nigerian Air Force Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakr and PAF's distinguished top cadre officers.
They highlighted the evolution of the air defence capabilities of their respective countries, primarily through cost-effective solutions to aerial defence system.
They stressed the need for research and cost-effective innovation to combat newer threats. They noted that self-reliance and optimisation of local defence capabilities is the need of the hour, but maximisation of defence competencies is impeded by limited research funding in case of developing countries like Pakistan.
The speakers also iterated Pakistan's need to enhance its production capacity by partnering with the private sector and letting the local industry partners capitalise on defence production.
In his address on the occasion, Air Commodore Rashid Habib of the PAF shed light on the 'Pride of Pakistan' – the JF-17 thunder fighter aircraft which Pakistan manufactures in collaboration with China. He informed the audience that more than 100 JF-17 jets had been added to the Pakistan fleet, and a dual-seat model of the aircraft was also expected to become operational in 2019.
It was also announced that the National Aerospace Science and Technology Park (NASTP), under PAF's command, would serve as a special economic zone in pursuance of Pakistan's Vision 2025.
The seminar concluded with a keynote address by Deputy Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Shahid Akhtar HI (M).
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"Today, air space power has evolved into a source of commonly-recognised strength. The nature of threat has evolved into traditional and non-traditional. Forums like these [IDEAS] afford us the opportunity to combat these threats together," said Air Marshal Akhtar.
At the conference, memoranda of understanding (MoUs) were signed among exhibitor countries.
Turkish and Chinese delegations as well as arms manufacturers, traders and exporters enjoyed notable presence at the event. They signed MoUs with countries like Poland and Italy.
The China National Aerospace Technology Import and Export Corporation under the country's State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence showcased a range of land, sea and air defence systems with more than 30 to 40 per cent of range of new equipment and armed technology.
Three Russian enterprises were represented under the parent body of Rosoboronexport showcase, a part of the Rostec State Corporation.
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