Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that Pakistan’s defence production industry has made significant strides in terms of technology and innovation and his government was laying special emphasis on the export of defence products.
Addressing the inaugural session of the 8th International Defence Products Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) 2014, the premier also reiterated his government’s concerted support for the ongoing military operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan Agency, and vowed to continue it till its logical conclusion.
He said that securing its sovereignty was the foremost obligation for an independent country. A modern and well equipped military was, therefore, an essential requirement for any country, more so for Pakistan that besides its geo-political location was fighting terrorism in its tribal belt, he added.
The premier said that threats to national security have multiplied with the emergence of non-state actors, including terrorists and computer hackers. “We need to develop new tools and gadgets to effectively deal with these threats,” he added.
He said that his government was also mindful of other challenges faced by the country including poverty, illiteracy and under-development. “We will lay the foundation of a competitive economy and infrastructure to put the country on the path to sustainable development,” he added.
Premier Nawaz said the government was giving special emphasis to the export of defence products. “Pakistan is producing sophisticated defence products which are cost-effective in comparison with other producers. Several Western countries are also importing defence items from us,” he added.
He said Pakistan has the potential and capacity not only to meet its own defence requirements but also that of the world. The international community is surprised over the achievements made by Pakistan in the defence field. However there is a need to bring further improvements in the sector, he added.
Speaking to reporters after the inaugural ceremony, the prime minister said that IDEAS “has provided an additional edge to our products and consequently we can register a significant demand for the same by different countries”. He said that he expected an overwhelming response from foreigners since they would be surprised to see the achievements and capabilities of Pakistan in the field of defence technology.
Premier Nawaz said display of military ware and sharing of experiences by engineers and technologists from all parts of the world has made IDEAS 2014 a unique occasion. “While the deliberations on issues related to world security by policymakers and researchers have added more to it.”
The premier visited different stalls and showed keen interest in the products displayed there.
Speaking at the occasion, Federal Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanvir Hussain said some of the major indigenously developed products showcased at the exhibition include main battle tank Al Khalid, JF-17 Thunder fighter jet, armoured personnel carriers and missile boats.
The minister said that multiple high-level meetings have been planned on the sideline of the exhibition between foreign delegates, key government officials, and participants of the exhibition for forging alliances in defence production.
Earlier, the director general of Defence Export Promotion Organisation (DEPO), Maj-Gen Agha Masood Akram, said that guests, including exhibitors and delegates from 67 countries, were participating in the event, or attending it in one or the other way. “IDEAS is a platform for convergence of local and foreign exhibitors, policymakers and researchers all related to defence sector,” he said.
“It is not only to facilitate trade but also share knowledge,” said the DEPO director general mentioning that topnotch scholars are also attending the event “Matching Response and Production to the Challenges of Dynamic Security Environment”.
Thirty six different countries from Asia, Africa, America and Europe are participating in the exhibition. Turkey is the largest participant closely followed by China.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2014.