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The lords of war: Array of military hardware up for grabs at IDEAS 2012

November 9, 2012
Published: November 9, 2012

More than 200 companies from nearly 60 countries are participating in the annual show of military hardware organised by Pakistan’s defence production ministry. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Security may be one of the biggest problems for businesses in Pakistan, but one sector of the economy is capitalising on growing security concerns – the Pakistani defence industry.

Hundreds of foreign and local private companies are currently exhibiting their wares part in the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) 2012 being held in Karachi after a gap of four years.

Pakistani private companies that manufacture military equipment for the armed forces are confident that they will find new business avenues from this exhibition. One of such companies is Alpine Industrialcon.

“We make equipment for fighter planes and other high-tech equipment, and we are sure that this exhibition will help grow our business,” said Khalid Sidhu, assistant manager sales Alpine Industrialcon.

“Our products cost almost one-third of what it would if we import from the United States. Today, we produce many products our military needs in Pakistan, saving precious foreign exchange,” Sidhu added.

Alpine Industrialcon is a Lahore-based company that undertakes research and development and manufactures products all on its own. It sells its wares to the Air Weapon Complex (AWC) – a government-owned entity that outsources its needs to private companies in Pakistan.

The AWC also takes international orders for privately-produced military equipment, which it exports under its own aegis to different countries.

The government has decided to support hundreds of privately-run companies in the country through the exhibition, and is currently seeking joint ventures with different Chinese and Turkish companies.

Pakistan Ordinance Factories (POF) Chairman Lt General Muhammad Ahsan Mehmood said that the government is trying to enhance public-private partnership in military equipment manufacturing in the country.

Speaking to media on Thursday at IDEAS 2012, he said that the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has recently approved two projects public-private projects for military equipment manufacturing. One major project is being undertaken in partnership with Ukraine, in which one of the companies is a private Pakistani company.

“Such projects will significantly improve the defence industry in Pakistan and we will be able to transfer new technologies in Pakistan,” he added.

Mehmood claimed that the weapons manufactured by the POF are not only high in quality, but also very economical if compared to other countries. The factory is exporting arms to 30 different nations, he said.

Mogens Dam, project manager of Damasec – a private Danish company that deals in planning and execution of security contracts – said his firm buys military equipment from Alpine Industrailcon and uses it in different global projects.

When asked, he said “We buy only quality equipment from different places. If we had any doubts about the equipment we acquire from Pakistani companies, we would never buy them in the first place.”

Damasec not only buys Pakistani security equipment, but it also installs it in different civil and military buildings for security purposes in the country of its origin, as well as elsewhere.

“The demand for security equipment is increasing in all parts of the world, whether it’s Pakistan, Middle Eastern countries or Denmark,” said Dam. He cited the recent shooting and bombing incident in Oslo, Norway; and explained that the concept of security is changing in different parts of the world.

Representative of UKRSPECEXPORT – a state-owned Ukrainian company exhibiting at IDEAS 2012 – Igor Kramarenko said his company is here because Pakistan is a growing market as far as military equipment is concerned. He said there are numerous military representatives participating in the exhibition – all potential buyers of equipment manufactured by his company. The company is showcasing its products on a big stall, with models of latest guns and high-tech surveillance planes, tanks, and battle ships.

Besides China, Turkey, Ukraine and Russia also have a strong presence in the exhibition. Delegates from around 60 countries are participating. Interestingly, the defence exhibition has been more successful in attracting foreign delegates than the recently held trade exhibitions at the Karachi Expo Centre.

From → By Farhan Zaheer

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