09 May 2023
  As a result of the war between Russia and Ukraine, global defence spending is on the rise. NATO member states in particular are increasing their military budgets substantially. This gives momentum to the global arms industry, which showcased its newest capabilities over the course of the five-day IDEX exhibition on 20-24 February 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).     At IDEX 2023 the countries with the two largest economies in the Arabian Gulf region, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, stood out as the major customers of defence contracts. The UAE signed more than 50 agreements totalling US$6.3 billion, US$5.9 billion of which were signed with Emirati defence firms. The procurement of locally made defence weaponry allows the UAE government to continue its economic diversification policy and preparations for the post-oil era. It also decreases its reliance on Western security guarantees, especially as US foreign policy shifts its attention from the Middle East towards the US strategic competition with China.     Like the UAE, Saudi Arabia is looking to advance its indigenous defence industries. In line with its Vision 2030 goals, the country plans to localise more than 50% of its military spending by 2030.     Prior to the Iran-Saudi rapprochement in March 2023, instability in the Middle East – mainly perceived Iranian aggression and its support of regional proxies – served as the main driver behind Saudi Arabia’s military spending. Although Iran and Saudi Arabia recently agreed to reinstate diplomatic relations following years of hostilities, deep mutual distrust between the two states is likely to remain.     US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently recognised climate change as a destabilising force and “existential threat” to US national security. As the UAE prepares to host the UN COP 28 climate summit in November 2023, his point is a timely reminder that defence industries must adapt accordingly and develop innovative and sustainable solutions that meet the strict equipment performance requirements defence ministries rely on.            

#By: Gina Bou Serhal, Serhat S. Cubukcuoglu and Kristian Alexander


#SOURCE: https://bit.ly/3B6rdsP