International Defence Exhibition and Seminar

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IDEAS
International Defence Exhibition and Seminar
IDEAS 2012 Logo.jpeg
The official logo of IDEAS 2012
Genre Commercial
Dates November
Frequency Even years
Location(s) Karachi Expo Centre, Karachi, (since 2000)
Country Pakistan
Attendance 24,000 at the last occurrence
Activity Aerobatic, kinetic and static displays; Lectures and workshops
Organised by Pakistan Armed Forces
Defence Export Promotion Organisation (DEPO)
Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP)
Badar Expo Solutions
Website
ideaspakistan.gov.pk

The International Defence Exhibition and Seminar, more commonly referred to as IDEAS, is a defence sector event, held biennially, in Pakistan. Since its inception by President Pervez Musharraf in 2000, it has grown to include more than 30,000 delegates and 250 exhibitors from around the world.[1]

The Pakistan government attaches a high level of importance to IDEAS; despite the fact that it attracts a large number of delegates, it is seen as a vehicle for facilitating their own indigenous arms trade. The level of political involvement has been known to reach the highest echelons, with President Asif Ali Zardari personally inviting the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to the event in 2008 in order to boost the chances of Pakistan's export of its indigenously developed al-Khalid main battle tanks.[2]

The Defence Export Promotion Organisation or more simply DEPO, is the government agency responsible for the success and organisation of IDEAS. Typically they outsource some elements of production of the exhibition to private companies. In 2000 to 2006, Pegasus Consultancy Private Limited organised the event, but after the 2010 conference was forced to cancel because of the catastrophic floods which hit Pakistan late that year, the contract for production of the event was then awarded to Badar Expo Solutions. Assessing how the event had grown since its inaugural occurrence in 2000, speaking at the 'soft launch' for IDEAS 2012, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani declared the exhibition a "mega event, that has become a global event in a short span of eleven years."[3]

The event's prime mission has always been to showcase Pakistan's ability to export arms to foreign nations. The Campaign Against Arms Trade agree with this synopsis citing investigations from The Guardian newspaper that the only country Pakistan would not sell arms to would be Israel and noting that the IDEAS series of events was seemingly marketed to countries who find it difficult to buy elsewhere.[4]

History of the event[edit]

IDEAS 2000[edit]

The inaugural launch of IDEAS occurred in 2000 and was a vehicle to promote Pakistan's domestic arms manufacturing businesses whilst providing a stage for international vendors to offer solutions to the requirements of the tri-services of Pakistan. The event, having always been scheduled for the Karachi Expo Centre, in its first year attracted forty-five delegations from foreign countries and it was opened by the President of Pakistan Muhammad Rafiq Tarar and visited by the then Chief Executive of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf.[5]

IDEAS 2002[edit]

The Rheinmetall MG 3 machine gun, produced under license by Pakistan Ordnance Factories(POF), on display at IDEAS
Several HK MP5 and HK G3 variants produced by POF on display at IDEAS.

Occurring on September 16–19, 2002 at the Karachi Expo Centre, the seminar element of the conference had expanded by this point to include, over two days, the following themes: “Asian Security Scenario” and “The Asian Defence Market”. The principal officer in charge of the event was Major General Syed Ali Hamid, then Director General of DEPO, who expected to receive 1500 attendees. The event was launched again by President Pervez Musharraf.[5]

In its second year the event had attracted wide international interest with General Hamid reporting to Dawn newspaper that exhibitors from China, Turkey, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA, UAE and Saudi Arabia were expected to attend.[5]

Already by 2002, IDEAS was being touted as the largest commercial event in the history of Pakistan with 45 official delegations from 30 countries attending and 110 exhibition stands from 25 countries.[6]

In his speech, President Musharraf said the seminar would go a long way in shortening the technological gap between developed and developing countries especially with regards to defence production and preparedness, he welcomed the international delegates: “Their presence positively reflect[ing] the standing that Pakistan holds in the world as well as the excellent relations that it enjoys with a host of nations.”[6]

IDEAS 2004[edit]

The 3rd International Defence Exhibition and Seminar was opened once again by President Pervez Musharraf and was held in the Karachi Expo Centre, September 14–17, 2004. Major General Syed Ali Hamid presided over the event and oversaw growth from the previous two exhibitions with delegations from over seventy different countries having been confirmed.[7]

According to Dawn newspaper, "[by 2004] IDEAS has taken a unique role in highlighting Pakistan's potential for defence ties and trade between countries in Asia, the Middle East and African region, while facilitating the need for an enhanced market base for indigenously manufactured defence products."[7]

However the event did not go without criticism, with Campaign Against Arms Trade noting that delegations from North Korea, Burma and Sudan were all present.[4] Despite this, there was full representation from the Pakistan Armed Forces with all of the Service Chiefs in attendance, and even though India had attempted to curtail US sales to Pakistan, there was a sizeable presence from American companies including from Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.[8]

IDEAS 2006[edit]

By 2006, IDEAS was an established biennial international defence expo; it used the tag line (still in use today) of "Arms for Peace" and had matured to announce defence contracts as a major feature of the programme. 226 companies attended the exhibition, of which 148 were non-Pakistani.[9]

The first contract to be announced was the co-production of arms and ammunition with Germany and the Republic of Korea and was disclosed by the Chairman of Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) Lt General Syed Sabahat Hussain."[10]

Aside from this, Dr Samar Mubarakmand from Pakistan's National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM) also announced MoUs with undisclosed African and Muslim states of 50 million dollars, adding to NESCOM's existing export deals worth $500 million over the last three years with no transfer of technology necessary.[11][12]

A variety of grenades, artillery shells, mortar shells and other ammunition produced by Pakistan Ordnance Factories, on display at IDEAS.

The seminar-element of the conference, held on 20 November 2006, was reduced to one day and DEPO had targeted to attract 74 countries for it. Such was the high demand for the 4th International Defence Exhibition and Seminar, the government of Karachi was heavily pressured by the Army to open the National Stadium and Hassan Square flyovers and their adjoining roads at least seven days before the opening ceremony despite meaning heavy recruitment of additional labourers to complete the projects, which were not due to finish on time. Furthermore, with mounting security problems in Pakistan and the rising profile of IDEAS, the army declared the whole area surrounding the Expo Centre a high-security zone for a week, which included the cessation of any labouring to complete development work in the immediate vicinity.[11]

The event was considered a success by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Ehsan-ul-Haque and a closing ceremony, held at Manora Island, included aerial formations and aerobatics from the Pakistan Air Force with the Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Army displaying indigenously manufactured submarines and vehicles. Summarising the exhibition at an affiliated dinner, according to Dawn newspaper, Sindh Chief Minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim said "Pakistan’s armed forces had realized the dream of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah of a strong and stable Pakistan through acquisition of modern technology and that it was glorious for Pakistan and particularly Sindh that the biggest defence exhibition in the history of the country was held [in Karachi]."[13] According to the Pakistani News Service, an "extensive media coverage was made with over 2,200 articles, editorials and news items published worldwide in leading newspapers and industry magazines."[1]

IDEAS 2008[edit]

The 5th International Defence Exhibition and Seminar was inaugurated by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. The exhibition area alone had grown to have diverse company representatives from 58 countries and the new Director General of DEPO, Major General Mohammad Farooq reported that of the 256 participating companies, 94 were Pakistani and 162 from abroad. Furthermore over 100 breakout meetings between government and industry had also been arranged[9] and the event would feature as its highlight a static display of the joint venture fighter jet launched by the Pakistanis and Chinese, the JF-17 Thunder.

Gaining momentum from the previous exhibition in 2006, General Farooq also reported three months prior to the exhibition to be held at the Karachi Expo Centre on 24–28 November that 92% of exhibition space had already been sold.[14] And unlike the previous four exhibitions, which offered free entry to the expo element of the event, a fee would be levied of $25 per person.[1]

As with previous years, the deteriorating security situation in Pakistan, combined with the increasing high profile nature of IDEAS meant severe measures had to be taken by the Army to ensure safety. Offices in the area were forced to close in the afternoons during the exhibition days, all restaurants were also closed during the evenings. To further enhance security, a traffic rerouting plan was put in place around the Karachi Expo Centre to avoid congestion at road blocks and checkpoints and to ensure the delegates could arrive more quickly and without hindrance.[9]

JF-17 Thunder Aircraft at IDEAS 2008

General Farooq, DG DEPO, stated that a considerable contributing factor for the success of IDEAS 2008 was the introduction of a soft launch several months prior to the exhibition on 23 May 2008. The fact that the Prime Minister lead the soft launch and hosted delegates from most conceivable stakeholders from a wide range of countries and industry partners helped grow the event.[14]

The Prime Minister's address was centred on terrorism and extremism, its negative effects on the perception of Pakistan and the motives of terrorists to destabilise Pakistan's economy. He concluded that IDEAS, with its great many exhibitors, was proof that the terrorists were not having the adverse effect they would hope for. Other notable attendees included: Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and the State Minister for Defence Abdul Qayoom Khan Jatoi.[15]

Cancellation of IDEAS 2010[edit]

On 15 October 2010, the Director General of DEPO issued a statement cancelling IDEAS, citing "devastating floods that effected 22 million people and resulted in loss of valuable lives and property"[16] as the reason.

Despite cancellation of the event exhibitors were guaranteed their deposit refunds and offered, should they wish to exhibit in 2012, the same rates as provided in 2010.[16]

During the 'soft-launch' for IDEAS 2012 Prime Minister Gilani made further reference to the disappointment of the event being cancelled. According to The International News, "he said the steady graph of IDEAS and its success suffered a slight dip, when, IDEAS-2010 had to be cancelled at the eleventh hour due to the unprecedented and devastating floods in the country."

"However, we are back in the business with renewed zeal and zest."[3]

IDEAS 2012[edit]

Al-Khalid tank on display at IDEAS 2012 held at Expo Center, Karachi, Pakistan in November, 2012.

On 15 September 2011, 11 months after the previous IDEAS was cancelled due to force majeure Badar Expo Solutions were assigned the contract, by DEPO, to resume the series for 2012 and 2014. The event, planned at the Karachi Expo Centre on 7–11 November, will see an enlarged seminar aspect focusing on tri-services military collateral, equipment and security services.

International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) is a biennial defence exhibition, organized by Defence Export Promotion Organization (DEPO), Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP), Pakistan. The 7th International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS – 2012) was successfully held at Expo Center, Karachi, Pakistan from 7 - 11 November 2012. Notwithstanding its conduct after a lapse of four years instead of two, the event received an overwhelming response from across the globe. A total of 57 nations were represented in IDEAS – 2012 in the form of Foreign Delegations and International Exhibitors. Around 80 Delegations representing 50 nations attended IDEAS – 2012 including 24 high level delegations headed either by the Defence Ministers, Secretaries or Services Chiefs of the respective countries. A total of 209 firms (135 foreign and 74 local) exhibited their products during the exhibition. Total attendance of IDEAS – 2012 exceeded the figure of 30,000, which includes foreign delegates, trade visitors and exhibitors.

IDEAS – 2012 embodied host of activities comprising display of different defence products / equipment, an impressive Inauguration Ceremony, conduct of various seminars, sideline conferences and networking of high level delegates with exhibitors and OEMs.

The inauguration ceremony of IDEAS – 2012 was conducted on 7 November 2012. Prime Minister of Pakistan was chief guest. The ceremony was attended by official delegates, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Services Chiefs, Senior Government Officials, foreign diplomats and a large number of exhibitors.[citation needed]

The seminar, conducted on 7 November, was titled “Security Outlook 2025 – Future Security Trends and Challenges for Defence Industry in Mounting Technological Response”. The panel of speakers included international defence analysts and experts like Maleeha Lodhi (ex Ambassador, Pakistan), 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 Sidelines Conferences. The learned local and international defence analysts candidly shared their views in these sideline conferences.

To boost Pakistan’s exports in the defence sector, some of the major indigenously developed products showcased during IDEAS – 2012 included Main Battle Tank Al–Khalid, Fighter Aircraft JF–17 Thunder, Jet Trainer Aircraft K – 8 and a variety of UAVs etc. IDEAS – 2012 offered a unique opportunity to the international delegates and visitors in acquiring an insight into the entire defence manufacturing and training capabilities of Pakistan, exhibited under single umbrella. 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 fulfill demands of other countries with exceptionally high quality products at mutually acceptable terms.[citation needed]

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 impressively displayed through various stalls.

On the diplomatic front, Foreign Delegates and trade visitors and media endorsed the efficacy of IDEAS – 2012 as an extremely valuable and interactive forum for the defence trade. Signing of several MoUs between the governments and private companies has further enhanced the utility and success of this event.[citation needed]

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 M/S 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.

International and local media has given extensive coverage to the event and published special reports and interviews of the participating delegates and exhibitors.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]