Defense exhibition IDEAS returns to Karachi after four years

The biennial International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) 2022 commenced at the Expo Center in Karachi on Tuesday after a gap of four years — a delay caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

IDEAS is a defence exhibition which brings together the defence industry’s players across the globe to showcase the latest technological innovations.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari inaugurated the 11th edition of the exhibition, which will continue till Friday.

The previous defence exhibition held at the same venue was in 2018. As is the tradition of the usually biannual event since the year 2000, IDEAS 2022 will showcase a number of splendid activities encompassing the world’s advanced defence technology demonstrations, international seminars, the IDEAS Karachi Show, networking, and business expansions through Business-to-Business and Business-to-Government engagements.

Addressing the ceremony, Bilawal welcomed all guests to the “special edition of innovation and excellence”.

He remarked that the incumbent government inherited an economic catastrophe as Pakistan was on the precipice of default, however, he credited the concerted efforts from the coalition “for the unity that helped the economy” survive an imminent danger.

According to Radio Pakistan, Federal Minister for Defence Production Israr Tareen, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and civil and military officials attended the inaugural ceremony.

Around 300 exhibitors from 32 countries display their latest and innovative products while more than 500 national and international delegates are taking part in the exhibition, the state-run radio service reported.

Apart from the six halls of the expo centre, three marquees have also been set up, one of which has been named after Kashmir.

The 10th edition of IDEAS in 2018 had some 45 countries exhibiting their products and this year that number has grown to 64.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif tweeted that the IDEAS had evolved into a platform that highlighted Pakistan’s growing footprint in the global defence market.

“Arms for Peace, theme of IDEAS’22, reflects Pakistan’s desire for peace & stability. Good to see that our defence sector is catering to demands of tech era,” he said.

Earlier, Dawn quoted Brigadier Naveed Azam Cheema as saying that it was a challenge to hold the mega defence show after the devastation caused due to the floods here but the exhibition also helps Pakistan’s economy. He thanked the GHQ and federal and provincial governments for supporting DEPO.

Brig Cheema said that IDEAS 2022 had surpassed all previous milestones in terms of space, booking, exhibitors and delegates both domestic and foreign.

“The Karachi Expo Centre has been booked to its full capacity with more than 500 exhibitors from Turkiye, China, North America, South America, Europe, Asia and the Far East out of which 60 per cent are international and 40pc local. Besides trade visitors, more than 285 high-level delegates from 64 countries are visiting the exhibition,” he had said.

Although Russia will not be attending IDEAS 2022 as an exhibitor this time, they will still have a presence in the form of a delegation. Meanwhile, there are new entrants from several European countries including Austria, Romania and Hungary.