War games send right signals, says NATO chief

  • 2013-11-06
  • By Rayyan Sabet-Parry, ADAZI MILITARY BASE

NATO secretary general. Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Source: European Parliament)

Some of the regions biggest war games in years have shown the Baltics is ready to defend itself in case of an attack, the chief of NATO has said.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO secretary general, was speaking about the Steadfast Jazz 2013 exercises in Latvia and Poland on Nov. 2-7.

Around 6,000 troops from 20 countries, including 15 ships and 40 aircraft participated in the exercises designed to defend allies against potential attacks. They're the biggest war games the region has seen in seven years.

"It's a signal to anyone who may have intentions to attack an ally," Mr Rasmussen told reporters on Nov. 6 in Riga.

"I don't expect Russia to attack any NATO ally and Russia shouldn't be concerned. It's a signal to who it may concern."

He added: "A stronger Europe means a stronger NATO."

Rasmussen played down comparisons  wiith recent Russian-Belarussian war games, Zapad 2013, where around 13,000 troops participated near Baltic borders.

"Our exercises is not a response to Zapad 2013," said Mr Rasmussen.

"We started planning our exercises long ago. The specific purpose of our exercises is to test the strength of and further develop the ability of the armed forces to operate together. It's also a sign of our determination to be ready to defend our allies."

Lithuanian president, Dalia Grybauskaite added: "We're ready to do anything to defend our borders."

Russian and Belarussian officials also attended the exercises where troops were put through various real life war scenarios.

Meanwhile, Rasmussen praised Estonia for spending its two per cent threshold on defence and called on the other Baltic leaders to do the same.

Baltic leaders also discussed plans for pulling out their troops from Afghanistan next year.