Pak against arms race, but cannot ignore defence: PM

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IDEAS-2016 inaugurated

A massive exhibition of 2000 weapon systems

Salahuddin Haider

Karachi—The Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says Pakistan is a peaceful country, and against arms race in the region, but it was forced to pursue the motto of ‘Arms for Peace’, for it could not remain oblivious of its defence needs.
He was opening the four-day 9th International Defence Exhibition and Seminar, IDEAS 2016 here Tuesday.
He said Pakistan has an obligation towards peace in the region, and peace in the world, and cannot afford to lower guards and be unmindful of its responsibilities to be ready for its proper defence.
An impressive assembly of 34 countries and 418 companies are participating in the show of grandeur. The participating companies include 261 foreign and 157 Pakistani.
Proudly emphasising Pakistan’s achievement in self-reliance in defence production, he referred to IDEAS-2016 as a demonstration of collaboration of local and foreign technologies.
A massive exhibition of over 2,000 weapons system and equipment on display at the exhibition reflected broad-based participation of the country’s public and private sector in defence production, supported by research and development, will remain on display for three more days.
Feeling proud that the country’s defence products were state-of-the-art and stood fully tested by its armed forces, the PM observed, “Our defence products have made their mark in many countries of the world and there still exist many opportunities for further growth and exploration of new markets.”
He said Pakistan was a fast emerging producer of quality defence products, which was also evident from the import orders being received from some countries in Asia and Africa.
Emphasising that the “promise of today’s Pakistan is brighter and reassuring than ever before,” he said that the environment for foreign investment was encouraging in the country in view of improved law and order situation, besides power projects are being completed on time.
Inviting foreign companies to expand their business linkages with Pakistan in the field of defence production, Nawaz said, “We will explore the way forward for peace and stability in the world in general and our region in particular”.
He congratulated the organizers of sideline conferences during IDEAS 2016, which he said would facilitate exchanging technologies for mutual benefits and bring together buyers and sellers – one of the core objectives of the country’s defence exhibitions.
On arrival at the exhibition hall the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was received by Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif. The PM was accompanied by Defence Minister Khawja Asif, Minister of State for Defence Production Rana Tanveer, Naval Chief Admiral Zakaullah, and Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman.
Among those present was President Mamnoon Hussain, 90 delegations, including Chiefs from 30 countries of various services and ministries, departments etc. Some of them were serving chiefs of defence services of their respective countries. Later President Mamnoon Hussain presided over a seminar on defence.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited the stalls at IDEAS exhibition where major indigenously-developed products are being showcased including battle tank Al-Khalid, JF-17 Thunder, Super Mushshak and K-8 aircraft, Fast Attack Craft Missile Boats, Armoured Personnel Carriers and military hardware.
The prime minister was apprised that defence industries of Turkey, China, Russia, North America, South America, Europe and Asia had a significant presence at IDEAS 2016, while nine more countries were participating this time including Belarus, Poland, Czech Republic, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Switzerland, Romania and Nigeria.