Her Majesty’s Ambassador Fiona Clouder, together with Air Marshall Barry North, representing the Royal Air Force, and David Hatcher, the Regional Director of the United Kingdom’s Defence & Security Organisation, hosted a reception to mark the United Kingdom’s presence at Chile’s air show FIDAE 2014.
Representatives of the Chilean government, the armed forces, police and security services and a wide variety of companies and other organisations attended the event that took place on 25 March, at which the Ambassador reiterated the close links between Chile and the UK in the areas of defence and security. Both countries are highly appreciative of the opportunities for mutual training exchanges, joint exercises and dialogue, and the Ambassador highlighted the historic, commercial and cultural links which form the wider context for these bilateral exchanges.
More than 100 guests attended the event with an important representation from UK defence and satellite technology companies such as Bae Systems, Surrey Satellite Technology, Thales Group, MBDA, Selex ES and UTC Aerospace Systems.
At the event, Mrs. Clouder gave the following speech:
Good afternoon. It is my very great pleasure to welcome you – together with my co-hosts Air Marshal North and David Hatcher of UKTI - to this reception celebrating the presence of the United Kingdom at FIDAE 2014. This is my first FIDAE since arriving in Chile and I now fully understand why it is described as much more than just an air show. It is very clear that this show, as well as being a major regional event for the aerospace and defence sector, also provides a golden opportunity for political and industry players to interact on every level, to exchange information and to discuss subjects far beyond the bounds of aircraft and national defence.
The United Kingdom has long enjoyed a close and trusting relationship with the defence and security authorities in Chile. We are proud of the long-standing links which bring Chilean and British soldiers, sailors and airmen together for training, exercises and active service in the fulfilment of peacekeeping duties. There exists a strong mutual understanding and admiration between our defence communities, and part of my task as Her Majesty’s Ambassador in Chile for the next four years is to ensure that this privileged relationship grows and flourishes, and adapts to the changing contexts in which our security forces must operate.
We are also extremely pleased to be expanding our influence in the fields of science and technology, and the UK government is strongly committed to supporting the scientific, academic and industrial communities in their initiatives for cooperation. This was the driving force behind the very successful seminar organized yesterday by this embassy in conjunction with CIREN, the Centro de Información de Recursos Naturales, on ‘las oportunidades de colaboración en tecnología satelital entre Chile y el Reino Unido.’ I sincerely hope that the discussions and ideas which emerged from this seminar will lead to even greater cooperation between the UK and Chile in the field of satellite technology and its application in a wider, more innovative and socially valuable range of tasks.
The Political, Commercial and Defence sections of our embassy work extremely hard to foster and maintain close and effective links with many of you who are here today, with the institutions and enterprises you represent, and with the opinion-leaders and innovators who will lead Chile through the next decades. We will continue to work closely with you to help ensure that research and development, international cooperation and investments in technology, defence materiel & security projects are characterized by transparency, efficiency, the optimum technical choices and overall fit with Chile’s economic, climactic, geographical and geopolitical circumstances.
The United Kingdom doesn’t come to FIDAE every other year simply to preach doctrine and sell expensive equipment. We are not present in Chilean universities simply to encourage academic exchanges and seal future commercial loyalty. We are here in pursuit of a wider agenda which looks to inform and influence Chile in its capacity as a regional power, as a worthy partner in scientific initiatives, and as a trusted friend and ally on the international stage. Chilean British links have never been stronger; historically, politically and commercially, we can cite our bilateral relationship with Chile as a model for the kind of relationships we aspire to in Latin America and in other regions worldwide. We also have a great deal to learn from Chile; from among others - its astronomers, academicians, civil engineers, oceanographers, seismographers, and the military and emergency services who operate in some of the most extreme conditions on the planet. The work of the country’s oenologists also holds a special fascination for me, as it does for many of my compatriots. I need not remind you that the UK is the premier destination for exports of Chilean wine – and I am sure that many thousands of bottles leave the country in the suitcases of FIDAE exhibitors!
I would like to wish you all a very successful week at FIDAE and in the pursuit of future cooperation in your specialist fields. I look forward very much to witnessing the accomplishment of many of these projects, and I hope that this embassy will continue to be seen as a supporter and helpmate in these important ventures.
I would now like to introduce David Hatcher, who is visiting Chile for the first time in his capacity as Regional Director of the United Kingdom’s Defence & Security Organization. DSO is a vital partner for many UK companies who export highly advanced technology and know-how to the defence and security sectors worldwide. Chile is at once one of their most straightforward and most challenging markets, and I leave David to give you his personal impressions of this unique relationship and the UK’s future aspirations in the region.
Muchas gracias, y mucho éxito.
For more information about this event, please contact Morag Sweeting, Defence and Security Sales Officer, British Embassy, Santiago.
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