The delivery of two Eurofighters fighting jets to Kuwait, the first of 28 in an order signed in 2016 and worth around €8 billion, is “excellent news” for Italy – from both a geopolitical and industrial point of view. Giorgio Mulè, Undersecretary for Defence and Forza Italia MP, was convinced of this after meeting with his Kuwaiti counterpart Fahad Jaber Al Ali Al Sabah. It is “a relationship that we have strengthened since March. The handover [of the jets] represents the opening of a door,” he added.
Undersecretary Mulè, how do you foresee this relationship developing?
We’ve already mapped out a path for the Italian defence industrial system, envisaging further and more significant participation in Kuwait. In mid-December, a delegation from the Kuwaiti General Staff will come to Italy for two days to visit the Defence Network Operations Command and to meet some Italian companies – such as the consortium formed by Telsy (TIM group), Cy4Gate and Deloitte – for a seminar and a demonstration on national cybersecurity perimeters. There is also interest in Elettronica, more specifically for the Adrian anti-drone system and naval solutions, Rheinmetall Italia for the Skyguard system, and of course the weapon package of MBDA, Leonardo and RWM.
Italy is in the Gulf and has a role to play, as demonstrated, for instance, by the Emasoh maritime mission in the Strait of Hormuz. What is the perception of our country over there?
The perception is excellent and strengthened by our credibility when we delivered the Eurofighters following up on an existing contract. This is a springboard for further credibility.
What about other Gulf countries?
There are contacts with various countries in the Gulf and in the wider area that are just waiting for the diplomatic atmosphere to clear, so as to leave behind some counterproductive ideological accelerations that caused misunderstandings. We cannot forget the role that Fincantieri (an Italian shipbuilding giant, ed) is developing with many countries in the region.
We have talked about perception. But what can Italy’s role be?
Italy enjoys great credibility, politically and geopolitically. Our multilateralism helps in not making us appear biased, but rather open to dialogue, though always in line with our values. There is an important opportunity at this stage and it must be exploited.
Can the delivery of the Eurofighters also be a geopolitical lever?
No doubt. Because it ensures that the dialogue is further relaunched in an area where, let us not forget, we have an important physical presence. With the activation of the Kuwaiti base Alì Al Salem through the arrival of the Eurofighters, it becomes a strategic garrison for our country.