China to be biggest exhibitor at Africa Aerospace and Defence 2010 expo in South Africa

With its increasing, active economic and political interaction on the African continent, Beijing will begin to flex its military muscle by being the biggest exhibitor at the South African Defence expo.

China will be the biggest exhibitor at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2010 expo in South Africa later this month, reflecting the growing military might of the Asian giant.

The move to be the biggest displayer at the expo is seen as China’s attempts to expand military ties with the African countries in lieu of getting access to their minerals and oil reserves.

China will cover more than 1,200 square metre in the expo displaying a large number of its military hardware, Defence Ministry sources told PTI here.They said the Chinese are also offering soft loans to the African nations for buying its military hardware.

“It is being seen as an effort to expand its ties with the countries in the African region,” they said, adding China has been investing heavily in expanding ties with the African nations for getting access to their natural resources such as minerals and oil.

Other countries that will take part in the largest defence exhibition of its kind in Africa include the US, France and the UK.

Indian companies such as BrahMos aerospace, Hindustan Aeronautics and Goa Shipyard are also participating in the show.

Global defence manufacturers such as Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Thales and EADS are also going to take part in the four-day event.

This decision by China making a huge showing should not be that surprising. After all, both China and the current government in South Africa are seeking a mutually beneficial strategic relationship. Lets remember that South Africa supports China when it comes to the Taiwan issue.  South Africa refused issuing a travel visa to the Dalai Lama to attend a peace conference back in 2009. This was controversial and not everyone supported the decision, but the very fact that South Africa did, wasn’t missed by Beijing. China, by making a strong showing is sending a clear message that it values its relationship with Africa’s most important country.

Here is a promotional video of the expo.

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