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03 December 2023

Nearly 900 exhibitors take part in expanded ninth international defence exhibition

This year's Idex has a record number of exhibitors. (EB FILE)

By Abdel Hai Mohamad
The International Defence Exhibition & Conference (Idex 2009) opens today under the auspices of the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and the Ruler of Abu Dhabi.

Chairman of Idex Military Committee and official spokesman of the event, Staff Major-General Obaid Al Ketbi, yesterday told a press conference at the Armed Forces Officers Club and Hotel in Abu Dhabi that the current Idex edition is the largest so far in terms of the number of firms, exhibitors or exhibition area which has amounted to 108,000 square metres, or 49 per cent expansion compared to the previous one. Also 897 exhibitors will display the latest military equipment and vehicles of the world. There are 32 pavilions, and some 150 official delegations will be attending.

Asked by Emirates Business on the sidelines of the conference whether the value of military deals will be lower than that of the previous edition ($545 million,   Dh2 billion) as a result of the global financial crisis, Al Ketbi said: “Undoubtedly you will hear about surprises in exhibition deals, and there will be very good news about new deals. I do not believe the financial crisis will have an effect on the conclusion of deals. Its effect will be very limited.”

Al Ketbi said hosting of the exhibition amid the current global financial crisis gives evidence of the importance and status the exhibition enjoys as one of the largest specialised exhibitions.

He said the UAE is represented in 89 companies. There are also big official pavilions of the United States, Germany, Italy, France, Britain and Turkey.  The Gulf defence conference will be held within the exhibition and which discusses the important developments of the region and the world.

Al Ketbi said 50 countries are taking part in Idex 2009, including two participating for the first time, including Ukraine. Iran has not asked to participate in the exhibition, he said.

About the Arab participation, Al Ketbi said only Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and Kuwait are present at the exhibition. He said no request by any firm meeting the conditions has been rejected. “Idex is an international exhibition which is open to all, and the UAE welcomes all companies. UAE’s policy is moderate.”

Al Ketbi said the exhibition for the first time focuses on national security equipment, adding that 11 per cent of firms will display the latest systems and equipment related to national and internal section as well as protection.

“The UAE’s is a defence policy, and Idex is a security and defence exhibition. Armament issues are today integrated, and national security has become an important and urgent issue. Each country has its own armament strategy which is applied in accordance with the challenges it is facing. Each country has its own particularity, and undoubtedly the security concern wins big attention. Some states have opted to focus purchases on security equipment in particular.

Meanwhile, Ali bin Harmal, Managing Director, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (Adnec),  told Emirates Business 45,000 visitors are expected, saying Abu Dhabi hotels are full. And undoubtedly hotels are committed to the prices fixed by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority.

In the next edition, Capital Centre hotels and towers will receive Idex visitors. It is expected 3,000 hotel rooms will be added once the project is completed in 2011, said bin Harmal.

He said in the press conference that “from relatively humble beginnings with just 350 exhibitors in 1993, Idex has grown steadily over the years to become one of the biggest and most important events for the global defence industry.”