Stoltenberg promises ‘fundamental shift’ in Nato policy at Madrid summit
Brussels, Jun 27 (EFE).- Nato will unveil its most significant shift in policy since the Cold War to counter the threat posed by Russia, the alliance’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said Monday ahead of a summit taking place in Madrid this week.
At a press conference in Brussels, Stoltenberg said the summit would be “transformative” and would see “many important decisions” taken, including a “new strategic concept for a new security reality” in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The concept represents a “fundamental shift in Nato’s deterrence and defense” as well as guaranteeing “support to Ukraine now and for the future,” he said.
“Our new concept will guide us in an era of strategic competition,” Stoltenberg continued, adding that the alliance’s conceptual shift will “make clear that allies consider Russia as the most significant and direct threat to our security.”
Stoltenberg added the defense alliance would increase troop numbers for its rapid response forces to more than 300,000.
“We will transform the Nato response force and increase the number of our high readiness forces to well over 300,000,” he pointed out.
The Nato Response Force (NRF), currently comprising 40,000 troops, is a highly advanced force made up of air, land, sea and special forces units “able to react in a very short time to the full range of security challenges,” according to Nato.
Nato’s chief also said the alliance would strengthen its “forward defenses and enhance battlegroups in the eastern part of the alliance” to counter Russia’s threatening foreign policy, as well as “boost our ability to reinforce in crisis and conflict, including with more prepositioned equipment and stockpiles of military supplies, more forward-deployed capabilities, strengthen command and control, and upgrade defense plans with forces pre-assigned to defend specific allies.”
“Together, this constitutes the biggest overhaul of collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War,” Stoltenberg said, adding that this would require sustained investment from allies.
Beyond addressing the new security challenges posed by Moscow’s aggression, Nato’s new concept will “for the first time” address China and “the challenges that Beijing poses to our security, interest and values,” he said.
Stoltenberg also said the new concept would reflect new challenges posed in areas such as terrorism, cyber security and hybrid threats.
The secretary-general added that the summit would also address Sweden and Finland’s application to join the alliance.
The Nato summit in Madrid will take place from Tuesday to Thursday. EFE