UAE and Serbia work to strengthen military ties
ABU DHABI // A UAE delegation visited Belgrade this week to strengthen its defence cooperation with Serbia.
The seventh Partner International Defence Exhibition, which kicked off on Tuesday, included more than 120 vendors. Some of the products on display include the 35km-strike range Morava missile system, which neutralises combat capacity of command posts, bases, airports and armoured targets. Others are the Sora self-propelled howitzer, which resembles a tank carrying a missile launcher or rocket, as well as the Sparrow and Pegasus drones.
“These are different kinds of weapons, mortars, ammunitions and combat vehicles for military purposes,” said Milos Perisic, Serbia’s ambassador to the UAE. “And we hope the UAE will be interested in some of them.”
Representatives of the UAE Armed Forces attended the event.
“These kits are interesting and useful in land warfare and contingencies,” said Dr Theodore Karasik, a geopolitical analyst in the UAE. “We have to remember that Serbia was of course a major hub during the Soviet era for land equipment, and they have continued to be a provider of this type of equipment to other militaries. So the joint venture is seeking to take the best and the brightest from the Serbian defence industry and combining it with requirements of the UAE Armed Forces.”
In Abu Dhabi, the Serbian defence industry participated in Idex in February, with a delegation led by Bratislav Gasic, the country’s minister of defence.
“He and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, discussed military cooperation between both countries and ways of expanding it,” Mr Perisic said. “There will also be an expansion of the military education between the UAE and Serbia as Emiratis attended a military academy in Serbia last month.”
The Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Training Centre in Krusevac city in central Serbia will continue to host a number of Emirati students in the coming months.
“The UAE-Serbian relationship is across a number of different sectors,” Dr Karasik said. “It is security, defence, tourism, economic — and part of this is about education. These institutions in Serbia and other East European states are very knowledgeable about tactics, techniques and procedures in military contingencies.”
Mr Perisic said military education was vital.
The move comes as part of an agreement signed last year. It includes an exchange of information and technologies in the defence industry as well as training camps and workshops at Serbia’s 200-year-old military academy.
The agreement also includes a joint project to develop mid-range mortar systems as well as training, here Emiratis would be taught civil medicine with specific surgeries and operations that happen in battle situations.
Health care work between the countries is also expanding, with a number of highly qualified doctors and nurses expected to visit the UAE soon for training.
“They will come for a certain period of time,” Mr Perisic said. “And we hope that it will be mutually beneficial for both countries.”
Updated: June 25, 2015 04:00 AM