One of the biggest Defense Expo of South Asia is just around the corner. The four day IDEAS defense exhibition is organized by Defense Export Promotion Organization annually. However, there has been a delay of four years in the event due to covid-19 restrictions.
IDEAS started in 2000 and since then it has been transformed into the most prominent platform in Asia to promote cooperation and information exchange in the defense sector. With time it played a crucial role in bringing together key defense product manufacturers, researchers, entrepreneurs, development and financial experts as well as policy makers. The main theme of this year’s defense expo will be on emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and machine learning.
The event will be a great leap for Pakistan as it will help in strengthening Pakistan’s strategic ties with International community through technology exchange and promotion. The aim of this initiative is to promote global peace and stability by maintaining a constant balance of power. Around 524 delegations attended the last exhibition held in 2018 from 45 countries with over 262 high-level delegations visiting the event.
China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, USA and host Pakistan have become crucial parts of the event with their respective pavilions established at the Karachi Expo Center. This time, apart from international participation, Pakistan Army, National Logistics Cell, Armed Forces Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, Anti-Narcotics Forces, Counter-IED Organisation, Frontier Works Organisation, and Directorate of Military Training will also be setting up their pavilions. Moreover, many weapon systems will also be displayed including Pakistani manufactured renowned JF-17 thunder, Al-Khalid Tank, Jet Trainer Aircraft K-8 and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in a bid to enhance Pakistan’s defense exports.
IDEAS represent Pakistan’s defense production capabilities, hence paving way for investment in the country. This year’s theme of introducing emerging technologies highlight that Pakistan is among those countries which are focusing on integrating technologies like AI, Machine learning, and Big Data in its state of the art defense productions. The modernization in warfare is driven through the integration of new technologies in weapon systems. The force modernization in the right direction is not only important for a country’s own security but it also helps in maintaining a credible international standing among comity of nations. Pakistan being the harbinger of international peace and stability have spearheaded the efforts in maintaining balance of power in the region and beyond without getting involved in any arms race unlike its eastern neighbour which is on a shopping spree for purchase of lethal weapons & equipment from around the world.
Humais Sheikh is an independent Defence Analyst based in Islamabad. He has completed his Masters in Defence and Strategic Studies from Quaid-I-Azam University, Islamabad.