IDEX Conference 2017, part of the 13th edition of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX 2017) and the fourth edition of the Naval Defence Exhibition (NAVDEX 2017) commenced yesterday at the National Archives headquarters in Abu Dhabi.
The event attracted national and international defence policy makers and experts engaging in a lively debate over the most pressing topics in the industry.
Themed ‘Disruptive Innovation in Defence and Security', the conference took place ahead of IDEX and NAVDEX 2017, which are set to draw the participation of 1,235 specialised local and international companies in the defence industry. This represents a three per cent growth compared to 2015, when 1,200 companies attended.
Organised by Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) in collaboration with the UAE Armed Forces under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President and Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, IDEX and NAVDEX 2017 will run at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 19 to 23 February 2017.
Welcoming the keynote speakers and panellists, Mohammed Al Bowardi, UAE Minister of State for Defence, said, "It is my absolute honour to welcome you all here today. This year, IDEX will witness its 13th edition, and owing to the wise direction of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, it will be bigger than ever."
Re-affirming the importance of continuous development in the defence industry, he added, "Today's conference provides a unique opportunity to further the development of defence capabilities. We will discuss the latest advancements in technology with a special focus on disruptive technology and their impact on our armed forces. We live at a time of rapid technological progress that manifests itself in areas such as robotics and 3D printing."
Speaking on the significance of state-of-the-art technology in the defence arena, he said, "Disruptive technology offers great advancements for our military institutions. However, in the hands of terrorists or enemies, it can yield results of catastrophic proportions. There is no other sector that witnesses changes at such rapid rate as the defence industry. This brings about continuous change in warfare parameters. Disruptive technology is what led to the rise of cyber warfare. Military institutions must employ skillful professionals to create the highest levels of competitive advantage. They need mechanisms that facilitate, monitor and understand disruptive technology and its impact on each and every one of us. In the UAE, our armed forces continuously aim to advance through introducing emerging technologies and developing human capital and know-how."
He added, "The UAE has made tremendous strides in fostering national defence companies. ADNEC in collaboration with the UAE Armed Forces have been monumental in driving today's event and the subsequent exhibitions. Defence innovation, security and control are areas that need our undivided attention, expertise and ingenuity. Today, let us really think outside the box, share experience and come up with cutting-edge solutions."
In closing, Mohammed Al Bowardi said, "I look forward to the sessions, panels and deliberations today at IDEX Conference 2017. It is important to discuss and understand the new paradigm of military warfare."
Warfare. For his part, Staff Major General Pilot Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of IDEX 2017 and NAVDEX 2017, said, "We are proud of the overwhelming response to the IDEX Conference 2017 that demonstrates the reach and prestige of the event, and its status as a growing hub for specialists to discuss security and defence challenges facing the region and the world."
He also thanked the General Command of the UAE Armed Forces for the fundamental role they play in the success of the IDEX Conference 2017. Under the coordination of the Higher Organising Committee, teams have worked around the clock to secure an even bigger edition, liaise with speakers and attract international experts, leaders and military personnel to participate in the event.
Humaid Mattar Al Dhaheri, Group CEO of ADNEC, said, "Organising the International Defence Conference on the side-lines of IDEX and NAVDEX 2017 stems from ADNEC's efforts to transfer, foster and localise knowledge of the defence industry, one of the main sectors of the Abu Dhabi Plan and the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030."
He added, "Since its inception a decade ago, ADNEC has actively attracted specialised international conferences to Abu Dhabi. Through continuous cooperation with various national institutions – most notably the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau and national professional associations - we successfully bid and won hosting major international conferences."
He stressed that conferences and exhibitions offer ideal opportunities for networking with international decision-makers and specialists. Furthermore, they provide platforms for showcasing cutting-edge technology, directly and indirectly contribute to the national economy and support key sectors, such as tourism, aviation and hospitality.
Entitled ‘Disruptive Emerging Technology and Innovation: A New Military Paradigm', the first keynote session led by the Honourable Christopher Pyne, Australian Minister for Defence Industry, discussed disruptive technology and innovation in the military context.
The session shed light on the complex and increasingly critical new technologies and rapidly accelerating technological innovation, which have powerful impact on the daily lives of populations throughout the world. The panel examined the topic of cyber security, its impact on industries, especially national security, and ways of monitoring and addressing the threat.
IDEX and NAVDEX 2017 are expected to welcome over 100,000 visitors from all over the world. The total area dedicated to the two exhibitions has expanded to 53,532 square metres, up by five percent compared to the previous edition. Moreover, the biennial events are expected to host a total of 1,000 local and international media representatives, a 72 per cent increase on 2015.
IDEX 2015 attracted more than 1,200 local and international defence manufacturers and contractors and drew over 101,000 visitors from across the world. The event also facilitated business deals worth AED18.3 billion. – Emirates News Agency, WAM