Approximately 80 delegations representing 50 countries attended the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) in Karachi, Pakistan, between November 7 and 11 2012, which saw more than 30 000 visitors view the products of 209 exhibitors.
The biennial IDEAS is organized by the Defence Export Promotion Organization (DEPO) of the Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) of Pakistan. The seventh iteration held last year saw 135 foreign and 74 local firms exhibit their products.
IDEAS 2012 was not just a defence show but included an inauguration ceremony, seminars and sideline conferences. The Inauguration Ceremony, held on November 7, saw attendance by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Services Chiefs, Senior Government Officials, Foreign Diplomats and a large number of exhibitors.
The Seminar, conducted on November 7, was entitled “Security Outlook 2025 – Future Security Trends and Challenges for Defence Industry in Mounting Technological Response”. The panel of speakers included prominent international defence analysts and experts like Dr. Maleeha Lodhi (Ex Ambassador, Pakistan), Mr Steve Coll (President of New America Foundation, USA), Mr Muharrem Dorktasli (President & CEO Turkish Aerospace Industries, Turkey) and Ye Hailin (Chief Editor of South Asia Studies, China).
The Presiding Officer of the Seminar, General (Retd) Ehsan Ul Haq (Ex Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee), in his concluding remarks stated that “given the fast pace of technological change, it would be perfectly natural to expect development of significantly new technologies, including those, which will alleviate our security and threat concerns”. IDEAS 2012 was first of the IDEAS series to feature Sideline Conferences.
A variety of Pakistani-developed products were showcased at IDEAS 2012, such as the Al-Khalid main battle tank, JF–17 Thunder fighter jet, K–8 jet trainer and a variety of unmanned aerial vehicles. “It may be pertinent to highlight that Pakistan has a large defence manufacturing, training and support infrastructure in place, which not only meets the needs of Pakistani Armed Forces, but also has the capacity to fulfil demands of other countries with exceptionally high quality products at mutually acceptable terms,” the IDEAS 2012 organisers said.
Amongst the international exhibitors, exclusive country pavilions were set up by Turkey and China. Defence products and equipment from companies representing North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Far East were also displayed at various stalls.
On the diplomatic front, several MoUs between the governments and private companies were signed at the event.
In his concluding remarks, Major General Tahir Ashraf Khan, DG DEPO stated that, “IDEAS 2012 was focused on the projection of Pakistan as a modern, progressive and tolerant state, which is willing to co-exist peacefully with the international community and regional neighbours”. He further added that the large attendance by key personalities of international and national stature speaks of the milestones achieved by IDEAS – 2012. He termed the event as an extraordinary success, due to highly encouraging and extremely positive feedback received from a large numbers of Foreign Delegates and Exhibitors. He congratulated Badar Expo Solutions, the Event Manager of IDEAS 2012 for managing the event in a highly professional and befitting manner, in line with the international standards.