Thursday, October 8, 2009

IMDEX Set To Begin in Singapore

Defense News


IMDEX Set To Begin in Singapore

By Wendell Minnick

TAIPEI - The 7th International Marine Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEX ASIA 2009), from May 12-14, will be held at the Singapore Expo, with a naval vessel exhibition at the Changi Naval Base.

"We anticipate 5,500 trade visitors from 50 countries, 136 exhibitors from 21 countries, 121 different delegations, and 41 VIP delegations from 36 countries, said an IMDEX official.

Teo Chee Hean, deputy prime minister and minister for defense, will preside over the opening.

"This affirms its stature as a prominent show for Asia Pacific's maritime defense industry. The IMDEX Asia 2009 exhibition space has been fully taken up and for the first time, we see the presence of a U.S. pavilion," said Chandran Nair, deputy general manager, IMDEX Asia and SingExhibitions.

"We are also very pleased to welcome navies and coast guards from more than 35 countries to the show, with 20 Navy and Coast Guard chiefs among them. Twenty warships from 14 countries are participating in the warship display in conjunction with IMDEX Asia 2009."

Changi Naval Base will host 19 ships from around the world, including Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, France, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The United States will be sending the DDG 57 Mitscher, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. Missing from the 2007 IMDEX are ships from China and Japan.

"So far no confirmation of a ship from China and no ship at all from Japan," an IMDEX official said.

However, China and Japan will have large delegations at the show. Chinese Rear Adm. Wang Xianjing, deputy commander of Lushun Navy Base, will be speaking at the conference on "Regional Maritime Security and Safety Engagements: A Chinese Perspective."

"Given the backdrop of the current maritime scene, the show provides a platform for navies and maritime bodies to share experiences and come up with ways to combat the piracy threat," Nair said. "The inauguration of the IMSC [International Maritime Security Conference] is timely in this respect. One needs only to look at the Gulf of Aden to realize the seriousness of the piracy problem. With the top-caliber naval and other delegates that the show has attracted, we anticipate much fruitful discussion of the varied problems and their solutions."

The IMSC will be the first for IMDEX. Organized by the Republic of Singapore Navy, together with the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies and SingExhibitions, the keynote speech will be given by Ng Eng Hen, minister for education and second minister for defense, on May 13.

The IMSC theme is "Realising Safe and Secure Seas for All," and will be promoting global maritime safety and security, with updates by maritime practitioners on cooperative efforts, legal and political frameworks and technological developments.

Conference organizers are expecting 400-500 participants. Military speakers include Adm. Robert Willard, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet; Adm. Sir Jonathon Band, U.K. First Sea Lord and chief of Naval Staff; and Vice Adm. Nirmal Verma, commander in chief, Eastern Naval Command, Indian Navy.

The conference is broken down into four sessions: global and regional maritime security overview, regional engagements, policy and legal frameworks for maritime security, and capability building.

The Singapore Navy is also conducting the International Maritime Information Sharing Exercise and the Western Pacific Naval Symposium Multilateral Sea Exercise. These will be hosted at the Republic of Singapore Navy's new Changi Command and Control Center (C2 Center).

The C2 Center saw the inauguration in April of the Information Fusion Center at Changi Naval Base. The Center will serve as a key node in the region's information-sharing network and will also house the Singapore Maritime Security Center and the Multinational Operations and Exercises Center.