Abu Dhabi: The Gulf Defence Conference 2013 (GDC) was officially launched Saturday at the Armed Forces Officers Club in Abu Dhabi by Shaikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Adviser and Vice-Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council with the attendance of senior world armed forces officials.

The GDC, Organised by The Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA), focused on regional technology developments with keynote speeches on the challenges facing security and stability in the region.

Major General Khalid Abdullah Al Bu Ainain, president of INEGMA, and former commander of UAE Air Force and Air Defence, told the Gulf News that this year’s conference is a ground-breaking event which delivers unparalleled insights from the highest levels of military leadership from around the world.

“GDC 2013 will help provide a technology and emerging concepts-centric focus to defence strategy in the Gulf region and beyond,” said Al Bu Ainain.

He added: “This year’s technology focus reflects the increasingly significant role of advanced systems, such as unmanned systems and network-centric architecture, in reinforcing regional security. Such discussions are critical to guiding the intelligent development of the industry.”

“Top-notch speakers and panelists at this year’s GDC from 10 countries including UAE, US, UK, Japan, South Korea and Turkey gave key speeches on defence and challenges including terrorism and nuclear and chemical threats,” said Riad Kahwaji, INEGMA CEO.

He added that the number of officers and participants increased this year to 500 from all around the world, a sign that defence industry plays a major role in the coming era.

France, UAE and UK have agreed to reduce risks in the region jointly. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a keynote speech at the conference that there are major threats and challenges to the region and the world.

“We will prevent countries such as Iran from posing any threats to its close and far neighbours,” said Le Drian.

He added: “We should have clear vision of the threats. We should realise that there is no possible compromise with terrorism and that there is nothing that would prevent us from defending our allies and friends anywhere. We will also sustain peace and stability in the Middle East.”

Major General Rashad Mohammad Salem Al Saadi, Commandant, at the National Defence College, UAE, said in his speech that there are many challenges facing the region.

“Sea passages must be guarded and Gulf defence is not a local issue but rather a regional and international matter. The UAE is working hard to attain peace and stability in the region by various means through cooperation with other countries,” said Major General Al Saadi.

Philip Dunne, UK minister of defence equipment, support and technology, told the Gulf News that his country is working on decreasing threats in the region by cooperating with the concerned states and governments.

“The UK and its allies work on reducing risk of disruptions of energy supplies in the region,” said Dunne.