By Paolo Valpolini
The inauguration ceremony of the 7th edition of Expodefensa, the defence and security exhibition took place in the Corferias Auditorium, at the presence of the Deputy President of the Colombian Republic, Mrs. Martha Lucía Ramírez Blanco, of the newly appointed Ministry of Defence of Colombia, Carlos Holmes Trujillo García, of the Commanders of all Colombian services, Army, Navy, Air Force and Police, of the representatives of Spain, which in 2019 is the guest of honour, and of Colombian and foreign authorities.
In her speech Mrs. Ramirez Blanco, who in 2002-2003 served as Minister of Defence, underlined the importance of the decision taken years ago to implement the development of defence technology in the country, in order to gain strategic independence. This was favoured by the cooperation with countries such as Spain and Israel among others, which led to cooperation that allowed Colombia to acquire technologies that would have required years to be developed on a purely national basis. She also underlined how this led Colombian companies to be able to develop and produce on a purely national basis complex defence systems, some of which have already been exported to friendly countries, such as Brazil and Honduras which share with Colombia borders in key areas.
The recently appointed Minister of Defence of Colombia, Mr. Trujillo García, highlighted how two key pillars for the future of Colombia are sovereignty and security. Expodefensa should improve the link between the Government, the Armed Forces and Industry, he said, underlining the importance of the science research policy adopted by the country which led to identify those technologies considered critical for defence, which allowed the establishment of an R&D roadmap. This already led to the development of two new radars, one of them operational while the second is in the development phase, as well as Command and Control centres, two of which are deployed allowing increased security in two Colombian departments, not to mention the new UAS entirely developed in Colombia by military engineers of all services, highlighting the importance of systems with dual capabilities.
Following the speeches by the organisers, the participants could assist to a demonstration by Colombian Special Forces, before heading to the main entry of the exhibition where the Colombian and Spanish authorities untied the ribbon symbolically opening the 7th edition of Expodefensa.
Photos by Paolo Valpolini