BY MOHAMMAD SHOEB
DOHA: Qatar plans to place big orders for defence equipment, naval ships and submarines at the upcoming Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (DIMDEX 2014) to upgrade maritime security, said the Assistant Minister of State for Defence Financial Affairs H E Brigadier Dr Thani A Rahman Al Kuwari.
‚ÄúWe have plans to put orders for defence equipment as we intend to have more (equipment and naval ships) than what we have. We also have plans to acquire submarines and lots of naval ships,‚Äù he told The Peninsula on the sidelines of a press conference to announce details of the fourth edition of DIMDEX 2014 from March 25 to 27.
Asked about Qatar‚Äôs defence budget for the next five years, Dr Al Kuwari, also the Chairman of DIMDEX 2014, said: ‚ÄúAs every country participating in the event has certain defence budget, we also have specific budget and plans to upgrade our forces.‚Äù
However, he said: ‚ÄúIt is not possible to say how much the budget is, it is about how many of a specific kind of equipment you need in your forces. We will announce details of our orders during the exhibition.‚Äù
DIMDEX 2014, under the patronage of the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, will feature over 70 exhibitors from across the world.
In addition to defence equipment suppliers, more than 18 warships of various sizes from 10 countries, including India, Pakistan and Turkey, are also expected to participate.
The Qatar Armed Forces and event organisers, Clarion Events, briefed more than 50 ambassadors, defence attach√©s and other officials representing most embassies in Qatar, on DIMDEX 2014 at the Diplomatic Club.
Al Kuwari said: ‚ÄúWe are honoured to welcome all members of the diplomatic corps who are with us today and we are looking forward to their continued support for DIMDEX 2014 which this year further strengthens its position as the premier event in the region specialising in naval defence and maritime security.‚Äù
Tim Porter, Managing Director, ¬†Defence and Security, Clarion Events, highlighted arrangements and preparations.
He said there is an increase in the number of exhibitors and total space, new exhibitors and the range of exhibits. DIMDEX will have two zones which will feature boats and air frames from the industry and Qatar Armed Forces.
He also highlighted efforts of the DIMDEX team visiting international events over the past two years, culminating in more countries and over 60 new exhibitors taking part in the expo.