Abu Dhabi: A top defence exhibition got underway in Abu Dhabi on Sunday as security challenges grow in the region due to emergence of Daesh and other conflicts raging in Yemen and Iraq.
International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex) 2015 was officially inaugurated by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
More than 150 firms from 55 countries are attending Idex being held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec). The companies are expecting to bag lucrative deals at the five day event.
According to Paramount group, defence spending across the Mena region last year grew 12.1 per cent to $120.6 billion (Dh442.6 billion), making it the fastest-growing region in percentage terms in the world.
At a breakfast meeting organised by AmCham Abu Dhabi just before the opening of Idex 2015, US Ambassador Barbara A Leaf, hailed US-UAE partnerships in trade and commerce, particularly in the aviation and defence sectors, and the overall trade levels of some $24.9 billion between the two countries.
She said the Idex was an outstanding opportunity to bring together US and UAE partners to further advance commercial bilateral ties.
The US Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Frank Kendall, spoke on the importance of military and industry cooperation.
“There are people working hard to deal with the problems of today; it’s my job to worry about the challenges of tomorrow and five years from now and ten years after that,” said Kendall.
“Industry is a critical part of our force structure and together, our partnership is essential to ensuring our war fighters are equipped with the best technology in the world.”
The opening ceremony of Idex featured a display from the National Guard of Belarus, and a traditional military performance from South Korea. A grand spectacle featuring a fictitious plot of friendly forces combating terrorists concluded the opening ceremony.
President Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir of the Republic of Sudan was also present along with top security officials from around the world.
For the first time Unmanned Systems Exhibition (Umex) will take place as part of the event. More than thirty firms are participating showcasing the latest technology and the growth strategy in the sector.