UK defence secretary Liam Fox has used Clarion’s Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEi) to promote the defence sector’s positive impact on the UK’s dwindling manufacturing sector, as well as UK industry’s significance on the world stage.
Speaking at the exhibition almost 10 years to the day after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, amid uprisings in the Middle East and north Africa, UK defence secretary Liam Fox told media yesterday that the need for DSEi has never been stronger.
“We are all reminded, in the long shadow of 9/11, that security does not exist unless it is created,” said Fox, addressing the audience for the first time in his role as defence secretary. “The Arab Spring shows just how quickly things can change from one region to another.”
DSEi, one of the UK’s largest international exhibitions, does much to assist the UK’s waning manufacturing sector. The defence sector remains critical to British industry, responsible for 110,000 jobs and sales of £22bn. Last year it accounted for export sales worth £9.5bn. The largest single customer for UK defence exports with sales of £2.3bn was the US, with EU orders amounting to £2.3bn and the rest of the world £4.6bn.
“The UK’s reputation in this industry is an exceptional success story,” commented Fox.
The defence secretary also drew attention to the interdependence of the global arms market, long since departed from the “global polarity” that existed following the second world war. He added that the sharing of military and defence equipment was key to achieving international security.
This year’s DSEi, which runs until Friday, drew 1,391 exhibitors from 46 countries and is seen as the pre-eminent international show of land, sea and air weapons, displaying exhibits ranging from military frigates and tanks to missile guidance systems, remote airborne observation drones and water bottles.
This year marks the seventh edition of the biennial event, which moved to Excel for the first time, poignantly, on September 11 2001.
Protestors have also had a lessened impact on this year’s event, largely a result of increased police presence along the main transit routes into Excel.
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