Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, met a number of top military officials while attending the first day of the International Defence Exhibition on Sunday.
Sheikh Mohamed met representatives from the UK, Greece, Russia and Ethiopia, and discussed ways to bolster ties between their countries and increase defence and military co-operation.
They spoke of Idex's importance in building regional and international defence partnerships and showcasing the latest defence technology, systems and services.
"It is a pleasure to announce the start of Idex 2021. Idex is an important defence platform shaping the global defence industry and also helping to forge new partnerships between countries," Sheikh Mohamed said.
Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and a number of senior UAE officials attended the meetings.
The first day of the five-day exhibition, held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, was deemed a success after the UAE Armed Forces awarded Dh5.03 billion ($1.37bn) in contracts.
The majority of the 19 deals signed by the Armed Forces went to local companies – who won contracts worth Dh3.9 billion ($1.06) – while seven contracts worth Dh1.1bn were awarded to international companies, Staff Brig Gen Mohammed Al Hassani, official spokesman for Idex and its sister event the Naval Defence and Maritime Security Exhibition, said.
With about 1,000 companies represented, Idex is the largest defence exhibition in the region and showcases the latest in military hardware.
It is also the first major in-person event to be held in Abu Dhabi since the pandemic broke out.
Rigorous safety measures are in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.