Australia should aim to become major arms exporter: minister
People's Daily Online
(Xinhua) 13:23, July 16, 2017
CANBERRA, July 16 (Xinhua) -- Australia needs to "reverse the current situation" and become one of the world's premier arms exporters, according to the nation's Defense Industry Minister Christopher Pyne.
Speaking with local media on Sunday, the minister said that Australia must become self-sufficient in the way that it builds its defence capabilities, adding that creating an arms export industry would deliver self-sufficiency and build strategic relationships with ally nations in the Middle East.
Pyne said he would like to see Australia "design, build and export ships, vehicles, (and) missiles" with the 200 billion Australian dollars (152 billion U.S. dollars) the government has set aside for defence over the next decade.
"My ambition and the government's ambition is to reverse the current situation," Pyne told Fairfax Media, "There's absolutely no reason why we can't be as capable as Italy, Germany, France, Great Britain."
Currently, Australia is the world's sixth largest importer of defence goods, while it is the 20th largest exporter. Pyne said that within two decades, Australia should be exporting arms at similar levels to Germany, Britain and France, behind the United States and Russia as the world's largest defence hardware exporters.
Pyne said that creating a competitive arms industry would do wonders for the alliances which Australia holds with key Middle Eastern nations such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
"Why wouldn't we want to cement our relationship with a country like the UAE, which shares many of our values in terms of the geopolitical issues that we face through things like defence exports?" Pyne said.
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