Karachi - President Arif Alvi on Tuesday declared that Pakistan has been striving for peace in a belligerent neighbourhood but country’s weapons are for peaceful intent and will be used for defence and not for offence.

He said this while addressing the inauguration ceremony of Pakistan’s 10th edition, IDEAS 2018 at Karachi Expo Centre.

International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) is a mega regional event; biennially organised by Defence Export Promotion Organisation (DEPO) in Pakistan. Since its inception in the year 2000, IDEAS has emerged as an international rendezvous for defence manufacturers, entrepreneurs, R&D specialist, financial experts, and top-level policy makers to promote cooperation, knowledge sharing and support ventures in the field of defence collaboration.

President Alvi further said in his speech that the world has forgotten about the contribution of Pakistan, as earlier Pakistan was home to 3.5 million refugees, who had been displaced after Afghan war. "We owed it to our brothers that they should be here and they're still here, but the world has forgotten about the contribution of Pakistan,” he added.

He further said that with its population of 200 million people, Pakistan is struggling hard, trying to secure its economy and to forge itself into Naya Pakistan, which the country deserves.

"When the paradigm is not in our favour, we also have a deterrent to ensure the fact that nobody looks to Pakistan with an evil eye at all,” he commented.

He said “When the people are strengthened, and you have defence as efficient as Pakistan's armed forces, then there is true security which the nation aspires to maintain peace and keep on developing and improving the wellbeing of its people.

"We are there to defend our country and that is what IDEAS is all about," he said, adding “Pakistan's weapons will be for defence, never for offence."

He said technologies are playing a vital role in confronting modern-day security challenges, and its responsible use can make the world a better and safer place.

“Pakistan being a responsible state is always committed to play its role for international peace,” he said, adding “Reciprocity, mutual interests and international norms are the guiding principles that govern Pakistan’s relations at the bilateral and multilateral levels.”

He said that Government of Pakistan always believes in meaningful dialogue on the basis of equality not only to resolve bilateral issues but also to a give chance to peace and harmony in the region. “At our end, we in collaboration with our partners are steadfast to this unflinching commitment for peace and stability in the world.”

He said that Pakistan’s defence industry has now reached the threshold of quality and reliability wherein its products are competing in the international defence market. However, to further excel in this domain there is a need of academia – industry interface, integration of public - private defence industry and involvement of R&D organisationsin defence manufacturing sector of Pakistan.

Federal Minister for Defence Production Ms Zubaida Jalal, while addressing the gathering, said Pakistan has the potential to emerge as a global platform for defence research, scientific growth, manufacturing and joint ventures, in order to strengthen our defence capabilities and spur developments as well as exports in this sector. “Towards this, Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) is continuing to evolve clear priorities and approaches for protecting and defending Pakistan defence industry interests at home and abroad. Today we are reliable export partners of more than 60 countries.”

Earlier during his welcome address, Major General Ahmad Mahmood Hayat, DEPO DG welcomed the visiting delegates, foreign and domestic exhibitors, OEMs, trade visitors and participants of IDEAS 2018.

The president during his visit of exhibition halls inaugurated new inventions of Pakistan Defence Industry i.e Global Industrial Solutions, Pakistan Ordnance Factories, Military Vehicles Research and Development Establishment, Heavy Industries Taxila, Shibli Electronics, Universal Smart Military Systems and Daudson Armoury. He highly appreciated the defence products of participating countries and OEMs.

IDEAS 2018 has surpassed all previous milestones in terms of space, booking, exhibitors and delegates both domestic and foreign. Karachi Expo Centre has been booked to its full capacity with 522 exhibitors from 51 countries including Pakistan. Besides trade visitors, more than 262 high-level delegations from 50 countries are visiting the exhibition as guests of Pakistan. China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, UAE, Ukraine and USA have established their exclusive country pavilions. The exhibition will continue till November 30.