IDEX, the largest Security and defence EXPO in MENA’
French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian has affirmed that IDEX 2013 is now the largest Defence and Security Exhibition in the MENA region.
In a statement on the occasion of France’s participation in IDEX 2013, the Minister also highlighted the French Army’s participation, which included a display of its “Soldier of the future latest technologies” in the fields of spatial communication and Tactical Equipment, along with a demonstration of major French Armed forces combat vehicles.
Around 70 French companies, including independent pavilions are participating at both International Defence Exhibition and Conference, and the Naval Defence Exhibition NAVDEX, being staged here at ADNEC.
He confirmed that a large number of French officials made a presence at IDEX to support and promote French Armed Forces’ equipment and technologies that currently being used in several Military theatres around the world and MENA region, notably in the current situation in Africa.
Mr. Jean-Yves also lauded the French-Emirati relations that go back to the early 70s “Thanks to the vision of His Highness Shaikh Zayed Al Nahyan, founder of the Federation of the United Arab Emirates”, adding that France has been a trustful and reliable partner to the UAE and has kept improving its support to the UAE Armed Forces through training, joint exercising and operations as well as transfer of operational know-how in almost all areas and providing a large amount of military equipment.
He also added that such strategic relations based on common world view and community interest, led to the signature of the 1995 defense agreement between the two countries, updated in 2007 with the decision to install a French Military base in Abu Dhabi in 2009. The permanent presence of French Military assets is a multiplier of the bilateral military cooperation.
On the industrial cooperation side, the minister said that the trust build between the two nations has led to major successes in the field of defence equipment, adding that French companies have understood the evolution of the Emirati economy and the willingness of the crown prince to develop an industry around high technologies.
Pertaining to the joint defence efforts between France and the GCC countries, Le Drian stated that the security of countries of the GCC remains a legitimate subject of interest for France who has developed defence partnerships with many GCC countries, and signing arms contracts remains a strong signal of the vitality of these partnerships.
He highlighted the many ongoing discussions in the different areas where the French industry has demonstrated its excellence and know-how. “Ongoing negotiations with GCC countries involve satellites, the “Rafale” combat Aircraft, “Tiger” or “NH90” helicopters, the air defence systems based on “Aster” or “Mica” missles, armored infantry vehicle “VBCI” or “CAESAR” cannon. the “FREMM” multi-mission frigate, C4I systems.”
On the French Defence industry side, Le Drian stated that the industry is represented by a dozen major French and Franco-European companies (Thales, DCNS, DASSAULT Aviation, MBDA, EADS including Eurocopter and Astrium) and several thousand SMEs. Clarifying that if Dassault Aviation, Safran and Thales hold significant market positions in Civilian areas, the industrial activity of companies such as NEXTER or DCNS is essentially oriented toward the defence and security sector.
Jean-Yves Le Drian continued to explain that the defence sector represents 165000 direct jobs in France, and a turnover of more than 75billion AED, with more than one third achieved by exporting to foreign countries.
Emphasizing on the French government engagement to the project, the French minister of defence stated that his government is particularly attached to the development and consolidation of this strategic industry for the Armed forces and the French economy, stating an example of how much of high attention is paid to keep a high level of investment in Research and Technology to guarantee a continuous access to the best technology to the French Forces and its main partners like the UAE. The French ministry of defence has also dedicated important resources for the support of the French exports in the best interest of its partners.
With the amount of new orders of 6.5 billion Euros in 2011, Jean-Yves Le Drian pointed that France is one of the five leading world exporters of Defence & Security equipment, adding that geographic zone of French exports is relatively stable from year to year, and that it reflects the global market, which places France in direct competition with its main competitors.
In the 2006-2011 timeframe, French exportations in the Middle-East region represent 26% of the result. However, the Asian and Pacific region demand keeps growing and represents 42% of our exports in 2011, making MENA region France’s first customer.
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