Pakistan eyes comeback in global arms market
Karachi: The main objective of Pakistan's seventh defence exhibition, which starts from Wednesday, would be to reassert the country's presence in the global arms and ammunition market, rather than sealing immediate deals, according to officials.
The International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) 2012, being held at the Karachi Expo Centre, has drawn delegates from around the world, including 130 foreign firms.
"We are satisfied with the response so far, despite the fact that this is taking place after a gap of four years. This event gives our own companies the opportunity to exhibit their products - something that is not easy when we go to similar exhibitions elsewhere," The Express Tribune quoted spokesperson for the Defence Export Promotion Organisation, Commodore Siddiq Akbar, as saying.
Director Coordination Brigadier Mazhar Mumtaz said it is not easy to sell tanks and aircraft. "The bigger the equipment is, the bigger the competition. But we are sure to get a breakthrough soon," Mumtaz said, adding that countries in Africa, Middle East and Central Asia are a potential market for Pakistani military goods.
"We are already exporting arms to many of the countries in these regions. It is important to realise that state-level communication and diplomatic linkages matter a lot in this trade," he said. Military and civilian officials involved in international defence trade said that Pakistan is continuously being sidelined because of its geopolitical situation.
"Saudi Arabia was about to buy Al-Khalid tanks from us. Everything was done; even the contract was ready, but the deal was called off at the last moment," said a senior official. "Our technology is not as good as the Europeans and the U.S., but how many countries can make tanks, aircraft and air defence systems? The market is huge. It''s just that penetration into the buyers'' market needs strong political will," he added.