Dialogue of Civilizations: Arms vs Development

By Kester Kenn Klomegah

flashback: AFL Soldiers

On November 6, while chairing a meeting of the Commission for Military Technology Cooperation with Foreign States, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for renewed efforts, not only, in preserving, but also, in strengthening Russia’s leading position on the global arms market, primarily in the high-tech sector, amid tough competition.
“Our capabilities in the military technical sphere must be used to modernise and upgrade all our industries, to support our science and to create a powerful technological potential for the country’s dynamic development,” he told the close-doored meeting.
Putin further called for reliance on the rich experience in this sphere and building up consistently military technology cooperation with foreign states. Kremlin website reported that, in recent years, Russia’s global export of military products has been at a consistently high level, around $15 billion.
Russian manufacturers have the advantage of an unfailingly high quality of products, which have no analogue in their combat and technical characteristics. Russia values its reputation of being a conscientious and responsible participant in military technology cooperation.
“We strictly observe international norms and principles in this area. We supply weapons and military equipment solely in the interests of security, defence and anti-terrorism efforts. In each case, we thoroughly assess the situation and try to predict the developments in the specific region. There are no bilateral contracts ever targeted against third countries, against their security interests,” he explained.
Putin suggested that “the changing conditions in which we have to trade in military equipment require some adjustment of existing approaches and development of a new integrated strategy for the future.”
Over the past years, strengthening military-technical cooperation has been part of the foreign policy of the Russian Federation. Aside Asia and Latin America, Russia has signed bilateral military-technical cooperation agreement nearly with all African countries.
Early October, Russian Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, told the global community “to go beyond military cooperation” to assist African countries that are still facing a number of serious development problems.
“oint efforts of the whole global community are required for meeting those challenges, I am confident that the aid to African states should go beyond military components. It is necessary to fortify public institutions, engage in economic and humanitarian fields, construct infrastructure facilities, create new jobs,” Bogdanov said, adding “those are the ways of solving such problems as migration, for example, to Europe.”
Bogdanov was contributing to the panel discussions on the topic: “Engaging Africa in Dialogue: Towards a Harmonious Development of the Continent” at the Dialogue of Civilizations Forum that was held from October 5-6 in Rhodes, Greece.

Note: Views expressed  in the article are straightly the views of the author and not The New Republic Newspaper


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