Since independence, one of Kazakhstan’s defining characteristics as a nation has been its passionate commitment to dialogue, partnership and peace. Apart from the country’s relentless championing by actions and words of a world free of nuclear weapons, Kazakhstan has worked tirelessly to find diplomatic solutions to regional and global tensions and urged a greater priority be given to development needs rather than military spending.
But it is the duty of every country, of course, to be able to protect its citizens and their interests. At a time when the world is facing many challenges, a strong and modern military to counter such global threats as international terrorism and to participate in global peace-keeping missions remains crucial. Only recently, Kazakhstan, together with many other countries, celebrated Victory Day and the defeat of Nazism. It was a reminder, if one were needed, that there are times when well-equipped and trained armed forces are essential to a nation’s survival and to the survival of civilisation itself.
It is why, over the years, the government of Kazakhstan has invested in modern and professional armed forces in which the country and its citizens place great pride. It is also a military which increasingly is using state-of-the-art equipment developed and manufactured here in Kazakhstan.
So it is fitting that June 2-5 Kazakhstan will host KADEX – an international exhibition of weapons systems and military equipment. This four-day event at the Astana International Airport, will showcase the latest military products and space technology for land, air and naval forces from home and also from our partners.
This is the fourth time Kazakhstan has hosted KADEX and this year’s exhibition will be the largest by far. KADEX will welcome more than 300 exhibitors from around the world, including Germany, Italy, the United States, Russia, India and Brazil. It is set to be the largest defence focused event ever to be held in Central Asia. In 2014, the last time KADEX took place in Kazakhstan, deals worth $2.6 billion were signed. It is expected that this number will rise this year.
Kazakhstan reaps many benefits from hosting KADEX. Following previous exhibitions, contracts were signed to build in Kazakhstan a helicopter plant, a factory for the production of armoured vehicles as well as a number of other military facilities that were invested in by foreign participants of the international exhibition. This creates jobs for our citizens, develops our defence industry, increases our high-tech skills and has an overall positive effect on our economy.
At a time when Kazakhstan faces economic challenges from outside its borders, developing our military-industrial complex becomes vital. This is why hosting KADEX this week will be very important for Kazakhstan, as it could open the door to more financial deals and agreements that will benefit the country as well as provide a shop-window for our own companies. Among many domestic exhibitors, the Petropavlovsk-based Heavy Engineering Plan, for example, will demonstrate to prospective buyers its latest multiple launch rocket system, which is equipped with an automated fire control system, digital means of communication, navigation and topographic location, including a satellite.
As well as contributing to the development of Kazakhstan’s military-industrial complex, KADEX should provide an opportunity to develop ties with our international state partners around the world. Kazakhstan has consistently advocated for joint efforts to ensure stability and security in the region and beyond. Right now, this is more important than ever. Conflicts continue to plague the Middle East. DAESH, while weakened, continues to pose a threat internationally.
Only through international cooperation can we counter new challenges and defeat modern threats. KADEX will play its part in forging new partnerships between leading states in defence, which will help strengthen regional and global security for the benefit of all our citizens.