Abu Dhabi defence fair starts on big note

Last Updated: Sun, Feb 17, 2013 11:40 hrs

Abu Dhabi, Feb 17 (IANS) The biennial International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) startED here Sunday, WITH a special focus on naval defenCe and unmanned aerial systems.

Launched in 1993, IDEX has become one of the largest fairs for defence technology and military equipment in the world, reports Xinhua. This year' s IDEX hosts around 1,112 exhibiting companies from 59 countries.

The US, the biggest exhibiting country, has over 180 participating firms from the defence industry.

The host country United Arab Emirates (UAE) has 144 companies on the ground while Germany and China are present with 69 and 25 firms respectively.

This year's IDEX hosts NAVDEX, a special platform for the navy ships.

Visiting vessels from the UAE, the United States, France, Britain, Italy and Pakistan are berthed.

A special focus on unmanned aerial equipment like reconnaissance drones is part of this IDEX as demand for such equipment in the Middle East is worth $1 billion, according to the fair's organisers.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), military spending reached 1.74 trillion dollars in 2011 globally.

While defence budgets in many Western countries were mostly cut due to austerity measures in 2011, states in the Middle East belong to the largest military spenders in the world in relation to defence spending per capita.

SIPRI figures show that the Middle East stepped up its military expenditure by 4.6 percent in 2011 but was outperformed by Eastern Europe.

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