NATO's intensive large-scale drills further intensify regional tensions

北约密集举行大规模演习 进一步加剧地区紧张局势

China Military Online
Li Wei
2023-03-08 18:28:07

By Fu Bo


Recently, NATO has held multiple large-scale drills under the guise of enhancing its own defense capabilities.


Annual anti-submarine drill. Several NATO members kicked off the annual Dynamic Manta 2023 anti-submarine drill on February 27 to train anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities, according to the announcement by NATO's Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM). Naval forces from nine countries including the US, Canada, France, Germany, the UK, Greece, Italy, Spain and Türkiye participated in the exercise in the waters off Sicily, Italy with their submarines, surface ships, and maritime patrol aircraft. Rear Admiral Stephen Mack, Commander for Allied submarines assigned to NATO, said that NATO must plan to deal with multi-dimensional threats. The Dynamic Manta drill can help build a framework to comprehensively exercise the anti-submarine warfare capabilities of NATO member states.


The exercise against "imaginary enemy". The French Ministry of Armed Forces recently held the largest military exercise in the past three decades named ORION 2023 in the south. More than 7,000 soldiers from various services of the French military participated, and some military personnel from the UK, Spain, the US and Germany were also invited to join.


French media reported that, unlike the past drills where France set the imaginary enemy as an armed group, the scenario of this exercise is a large-scale conflict between countries. Patricia Miralles, Secretary of State to the French Minister for the Armed Forces, said that this exercise is designed to prepare for potential wars that might occur in the next 10 to 15 years.


Targeted defense exercise. Recently, about 350 soldiers from the US and France in NATO forces held a military exercise in Romania to test the defense capabilities of NATO's eastern forces. NATO said the purpose of the exercise is to train the use of the US-produced HIMARS launchers and strengthen the coordinated combat capabilities of NATO forces when facing attacks.


Overall, NATO's recent intensive drills have two main considerations. On the one hand, it is to train integrated combat capabilities. As one of NATO's two annual anti-submarine exercises, the content of the Dynamic Manta has been continuously expanded in recent years. NATO hopes to correctly evaluate and improve the anti-submarine combat capabilities of NATO's naval forces via such exercises.


The ORION 2023 drill involves nearly all services of the French military and its European allies, including traditional land, naval, and air forces, as well as emerging space and cyber forces. In addition, military drones, which have been widely used in modern warfare, can also be found in this exercise. "The exercises aim to show that we have an army capable of demonstrating responsiveness and endurance in conditions of high intensity conflict," said French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu.


On the other hand, it highlights the attitude of camp confrontation. NATO's recent joint exercises are clearly aimed at Russia. Russian President's Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with Izvestia that "NATO acts as a united alliance not as our conventional opponent, but as an enemy. Their intelligence works against us 24 hours a day."


The recent NATO exercises will further exacerbate regional tensions. Recently, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that Germany, the US, and Poland are discussing to hold a joint military exercise in Poland. Pistorius said that the joint exercise is intended to send a signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin, that is NATO is not as weak as it seems, and the US and Germany will fulfill their obligations to protect NATO.


In addition, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO has made progress in negotiations with Hungary and Türkiye on the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO. Finland, Sweden, and Türkiye will continue discussions on joining NATO in March in Brussels. Under the background of NATO's continuous expansion and constant pressure, the security situation in the European region may further deteriorate.


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