Amid maritime tensions and disputes that continue to simmer in the region, a record number of maritime defence and naval forces will attend the biennial three-day Imdex Asia, which begins today.
On top of navy chiefs, coast guard directors-general, and representatives of navies and coast guards from over 40 countries, 28 foreign warships from 20 navies will be at the maritime defence show, held at the Changi Exhibition Centre.
The show has grown to become a key platform to focus on regional maritime and naval security, as well as defence cooperation, as it provides a neutral platform for stakeholders to engage constructively, said Mr Leck Chet Lam, managing director of Experia Events, the organiser of Imdex Asia 2017.
And the role of such platforms is growing, amid tensions in the region, said maritime expert Collin Koh from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
"This year is more stable compared to last year, when we had a number of unresolved issues... But what drives the growing interest in maritime forces is the continued geopolitical uncertainty," he added.
This year's show will also feature its largest exhibition, with 230 participating companies from 29 countries.