Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the ninth International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) 2016 being held at Expo Centre in Karachi from Tuesday. The Prime Minister was welcomed at the venue by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif. Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah and IG Sindh also accompanied the Prime Minister. Addressing the inauguration ceremony at IDEAS 2016, the Prime Minister said he is pleased to be attending the exhibition and welcomed the foreign delegations attending the expo. The Prime Minister said the countryâ€™s defence products are of advanced quality and lauded the efforts of the Defence Export Promotion Organization (DEPO) in strengthening public-private partnership in defence production. He said the country today presents vast opportunities for foreign investment, joint agreements and trade. The government is determined to further strengthen the economy, he added. The Prime Minister noted that Pakistanâ€™s ranking has improved along various metrics of international financial institutions. He said that the governmentâ€™s policies have been effective in combating energy crisis in recent years. â€œThere has been no electricity loadshedding in the industrial sector for 12 months,â€ he said. The Prime Minister added that the government is paying special attention towards the social sector and is investing in development of the defence industry. â€œPakistan offers vast opportunities for profitable investment,â€ he said, adding that the countryâ€™s environment is favourable for investment and the government wants to encourage the private sector. He further said that Pakistan is against arms race in the region.The route leading to the Expo Centre from Jinnah International Airport Karachi has been decorated with national flags and buntings and welcome banners have also been placed along the route for the participants of the exhibition. Elaborate security and traffic arrangements have also been made for the occasion. The four-day (Nov 22-25) biennial event is drawing 90 delegations representing 43 countries of the world. These delegations are being led by their respective countries’ defence ministers, defence secretaries, chief defence staff and other senior officials. A total of 418 companies from 34 countries including 157 Pakistani firms are showcasing their products in this mega defence event. This year nine new countries are participating in the exhibition because of the successful marketing by the Defence Export Promotion Organisation (DEPO). These countries include Luxembourg, Denmark, Belarus, Poland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belgium, Nigeria and Romania. DEPO Director Media Commodore Tahir Javed told a news conference that overwhelming response from the companies from across the world has boosted our confidence and proves the success of this mega event. He said that the holding of IDEAS 2016 is a moment of pride for the nation and demonstrates that Pakistan is not behind anyone in manufacturing quality defence products. As the products are ISO certified and prepared in accordance with international standards, we have seen countries even from European Union and the Far East taking interest and procuring our defence related products. The credit goes to scientists, engineers and technicians, are very encouraging for our defence production industry and we believe that more focus should be laid on Research and Development in order to take this industry to new heights which not only fully meet the domestic requirements but also earn valuable foreign exchange through export of quality products and also save the country from internal and external threats.