Thursday, October 14, 2010

China Defense at Africa Defence Expo 2010

At Africa Defence Expo, China''s shows its might and ambition
PTI | 04:09 PM,Sep 28,2010

E T B Sivapriyan Cape Town, Sep 28 (PTI) Reflecting its growing military might and interest in resource-rich Africa, China showcased its entire range of warships, missile systems and other military equipment at a major defence exhibition here becoming the biggest exhibitor of the biennial expo. All roads at the Ysterplaat Air Force Base in this scenic South African city led to the Chinese Pavilion where 10 companies from the Asian giant had displayed an entire range of military equipment under a single banner 'China Defence' at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2010 exhibition.

The huge Chinese presence at this year's AAD, billed as Africa's biggest Defence and Air Expo, is significant as China had only a couple of stalls in the AAD 2008 and observers feel it was its own way of telling the world that it has arrived in the continent, which has rich oil and mineral resources. Chinese troops serve in the UN missions across the continent and Beijing is sponsoring building programmes that include better roads, infrastructure and schools and the military officials are offering training and support to many African nations.

This is the first time that China has booked a national pavilion at the expo and showcased a whole range of defence equipment on par with the US, the organisers said. The US did not have a national pavilion at the expo, though noted companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing had stalls and their planes participated in the Air Show. China sources more than half of its oil supplies from African countries and its show of strength in the Defence Expo is seen as an attempt to expand military ties with the African countries in exchange of getting access to their minerals and oil reserves.

The AAD 2010 was much bigger than its 2008 edition and some 300 exhibitors from 31 countries participated in this year's expo which drew an estimated 16,000 trade visitors. It also coincided with the India, Brazil, South Africa joint maritime exercises (IBSAMAR) off the South African coast. Eleven warships from the three emerging economies that form IBSA were docked at the Cape Town port till yesterday as part of the exercises and visitors to the AAD also had a chance to take a look at these warships. Covering an area of over 1,200 square metres in the Air Force Base, Chinese companies like China National Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation, China Ship Building Trading Company (CSTC), China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation and State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry of National Defence. More than 1,000 Chinese-made fighter aircraft are now flying in more than 30 countries across the world.

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