By Our Staff Correspondent
KARACHI: President Arif Alvi on Tuesday while addressing the opening ceremony of the 10th International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) 2018 in Karachi stressed that Pakistan’s weapons are for peaceful intent.
The President recalled that at one time Pakistan was home to 3.5 million refugees who had been displaced after the 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 said that Pakistan does not like wars since they bring nothing but “hunger, lack of nutrition and misery”.
“We want peace, we have been striving for peace in a belligerent neighborhood but we must stay strong,” Alvi said, adding “our weapons are for peaceful intent”.
“We are there to defend our country and that is what IDEAS is all about,” he said, adding that Pakistan’s weapons will be “for defence, never for offence”.
The president asserted that when there is conflict Pakistan has ensured that it will be able to defend itself.
“When the paradigm is not in our favour, we also have a deterrent to ensure the fact that nobody looks to Pakistan with a bad eye at all.”
Alvi said that Pakistan, with its population of 200 million people, is a country of will and resolve “which is struggling hard, trying to secure its economy and to forge itself into Naya Pakistan, which the country deserves”.
The president explained that the security paradigm, which is changing and going beyond just equipment and defence, should be understood in the context of Pakistan
“As far as Pakistan is concerned, we should ensure the fact and we have that there should be food security and economic security.” He said that security could not be guaranteed unless a country is economically on “solid ground” and “not looking to others for help”, adding that is the responsibility of the government to ensure that Pakistan is a “stable economic state”.
The President claimed that more than the equipment Pakistan had been producing, it was producing “social security” for its people.
He said that access to education and healthcare, and poverty alleviation were guaranteed by the Constitution, and that the government would ensure that they are provided to the people at a grassroots level. “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 [in order to] maintain peace and keep on developing and improving the wellbeing of its people,” he said.—Picture on back page
Alvi said that in today’s environment it is important to ensure cyber security, so that Pakistan’s cyber and information systems, as well as strategic institutions, were also secured.
Alvi said that despite instability in the region, Pakistan had continued to work hard and had produced defence equipment, some of which was on display at the expo.
This equipment includes the JF-17 fighter jet, the Mushshak aircraft and recently a naval tanker which was inaugurated by the president.
The president said that Pakistan’s defence production was very high and he was proud of the “small quantum of private research” being conducted, adding that he felt it should be increased since it would give the country a “quantum jump from where we are to the future ─ where we want to be”.
Alvi said that the “business friendly policies” of the government would go a long way in welcoming people, other countries’ governments, and companies to look at and to participate in its production of defence equipment.
He invited people from other countries to come and look at the defence equipment produced by Pakistan, which he described as a “beautiful country … which is changing by the day, and will keep on doing so for the next few years”.
The president highlighted that Pakistan’s strategic location with respect to regional trade was enhanced due to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
He added that Pakistan was in the neighbourhood of oil-producing countries in the Gulf and also “in the neighbourhood of states which have created conflict as far as Pakistan is concerned”.
“Issues have to be resolved, war is no option.”
President Alvi urged India to come to “the peace table and discuss issues rather than staying away with different excuses”.
Alvi insisted that Pakistan is a peaceful country and added that it would “look forward to resolution of all our disputes in a peaceful manner, but at the same, nations should keep in mind that you cannot suppress people at all.”
The president also took a moment to appreciate Pakistan’s beauty and urged participants to explore the country.
522 exhibitors from 50 countries are taking part in the exhibition and will be able to showcase their high-quality arms from today to November 30. Besides trade visitors, more than 262 high-level delegations from 51 countries are also visiting the exhibition.
Countries such as China, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, USA and host Pakistan are all establishing their exclusive country pavilions at the Expo Centre. For the purpose, the organisers have also added three extra exhibition halls in the form of marquees.
The first two days have been earmarked for delegations, trade visitors and for networking activities. The other highlights include an international seminar on emerging global and regional environment and the role of grey hybrid warfare therein from Pakistan’s perspective. Renowned national and international subject matter experts will also present their scholarly papers on the topic.