Each year, the annual International Defence Exhibition (Idex) offers an opportunity to governments, defence systems contractors and manufacturers to bring their latest technologies to the marketplace. All told, the five-day exhibition in Abu Dhabi saw deals totalling more than Dh20 billion signed by parties, with the five-day event wrapping up with the Armed Forces of the UAE closing deals worth Dh402 million alone.
The reality is that we live in a region where tensions are rife, where there are regimes across the Arabian Gulf and elsewhere intent on undermining the stability, peace and security enjoyed by all the people of the UAE. Furthermore, there are missions that need to be undertaken to protect the long-term interests of this nation and its allies across the region, and the pursuit of these missions means that the men and women who serve this nation proudly require the latest defensive and offensive technologies on offer — with Idex providing a perfect platform for those contracts to be signed and sealed.
There is a reality too that needs to be understood in that the defence sector and the leading manufacturers developing their technologies in the UAE are part of a robust sector in our national economy. On Thursday alone, seven UAE companies concluded deals at the exhibition, a clear endorsement of their products, their quality and the people who are engaged in developing these defence systems. Certainly too, it’s another sign of the success of the diversification of our national economy away from the energy-dependent sector. Those UAE firms securing deals included the International Golden Group and Al Fahad Company, with the seven local firms securing deals worth Dh135 million on the last day alone. It’s important to realise that many of the technologies purchased are essential to ensure the continued safety and security of the region. With the regime in Tehran intent on spreading subversion and extremism through whatever means it can, it has invested heavily in developing missile systems ever more sophisticated and ever more capable of hitting civilian targets. Indeed, Al Houthi rebels in Yemen have fired missiles at civilian targets in Saudi Arabia — a technological capability only possible with Iranian rockets and firing systems. Is it then any wonder that Raytheon, the manufacturers of Patriot Missile defence platforms and other defensive shield technologies, signed the biggest deal of Idex? That deal was signed on day two and was worth $5.7 billion.
As long as there are regimes threatening the collective peace of this region, there will be a need for events like Idex. The peace and stability we all enjoy comes with a hefty price.