Britishers must prepare to fight a land war, army chief says: ‘Look at Ukraine’ | World News - Hindustan Times
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Britishers must prepare to fight a land war, army chief says: ‘Look at Ukraine’

Jan 24, 2024 10:13 PM IST

General Patrick Sanders said that the UK could not rely on its navy and air power, arguing that "we must be able to credibly fight and win wars on land".

Britishers should be prepared to fight in a potential land war, the highest ranking army officer of the country General Patrick Sanders said. The chief of the general staff said that any conflict would need to be a “whole-of-nation undertaking”.

Britain's Chief of the General Staff, General Patrick Sanders (L) talks with Britain's Defence Secretary Grant Shapps.(AFP)
Britain's Chief of the General Staff, General Patrick Sanders (L) talks with Britain's Defence Secretary Grant Shapps.(AFP)

Britishers citizens should be trained and equipped to be in a state of readiness, he asserted after the UK defence ministry said last year that it would cut overall numbers in the UK's professional army from 82,000 to 73,000 in the next two years.

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"Taking preparatory steps to enable placing our societies on a war footing when needed are now not merely desirable but essential," General Patrick Sanders said in a speech at a conference.

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“Within the next three years, it must be credible to talk of a British Army of 120,000, folding in our reserve and strategic reserve,” he added.

General Patrick Sanders also said that the UK could not rely on its navy and air power, arguing that "we must be able to credibly fight and win wars on land".

UK allies were already doing so, he said as, "Our friends in eastern and northern Europe, who feel the proximity of the Russian threat more acutely, are already acting prudently, laying the foundations for national mobilisation. Ukraine brutally illustrates that regular armies start wars; citizen armies win them."

Earlier, the chair of NATO's military committee Admiral Rob Bauer said that civilians in member states should be prepared for a potential future war with Russia as a large number of them would have to be called up if conflict accelerates in Europe.

Meanwhile, UK defence secretary Grant Shapps said that the country wants to increase defence spending from 2.1 percent of GDP to 2.5 percent in the future as the world was “moving from a post-war to pre-war world” because of which the UK must ensure its "entire defence ecosystem is ready" to defend itself.

Richard Dannatt, who was chief of the general staff from 2006 to 2009, said, “There is a serious danger of history repeating itself. If our armed forces are not strong enough to deter future aggression from Moscow or Beijing, it will not be a small war to contend with but a major one.”

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