KARACHI - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday said Pakistan was committed to discouraging arms race in the region, but would pursue the motive of ‘Arms for Peace’.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony of four-day 9th International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) here, the prime minister said Pakistan had achieved self-reliance in defence production and mentioned IDEAS-2016 was a demonstration of collaboration of local and foreign technologies.

He said over 2,000 weapons system and equipment on display at the exhibition reflected a broad-based participation of the country’s public and private sector in defence production, supported by research and development.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the country’s state-of-the-art defence products stood fully tested by its armed forces. “Our defence products have made their mark in many countries of the world,” he said, adding there still existed many opportunities for further growth and exploration of new markets.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan was fast emerging producer of quality defence products. “The promise of today’s Pakistan is brighter and reassuring than ever before,” he added. He invited foreign companies to expand their business linkages with Pakistan in the field of defence production.

He expressed Pakistan’s commitment for regional peace, saying they would explore the way forward for peace and stability in the world in general and the region in particular.

Nawaz Sharif said the environment for foreign investment was encouraging in the country in view of improved law and order situation.

He congratulated the organizers of sideline conferences during IDEAS 2016 which, he said, would facilitate exchanging technologies for mutual benefits and bringing together buyers and sellers – one of the core objectives of the country’s defence exhibitions.

The prime minister was welcomed at the venue by Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif. Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah accompanied him.

Later, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, flanked by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, inaugurated the exhibition.

The prime minister visited the stalls of the IDEAS exhibition where indigenously developed products, including battle tank Al-Khalid, JF-17 Thunder, Super Mushshak and K-8 aircraft, Fast Attack Craft Missile boats, armoured personnel carriers and military hardware, have been showcased.

The PM was apprised that defence industries of Turkey, China, Russia, North America, South America, Europe and Asia had a significant presence at IDEAS 2016, while nine more countries, Belarus, Poland, Czech Republic, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Switzerland, Romania and Nigeria, were participating in the exhibition this time.

Thirty-four countries and a total of 418 companies –261 foreign and 157 Pakistani – are participating in IDEAS 2016.

About 90 delegations from 43 countries, including 30 high-level teams comprising defence ministers, defence secretaries and services chiefs, are expected to attend the exhibition and the seminar.

Although Chinese and Turkish defence industries will have a significant presence, Russia is participating in the event this time in a big way.

The exhibition will continue till November 25.