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Is Nato mobilizing 90,000 troops for war with ‘near-peer’ Russia? – Times of India

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Nato is embarking on its most extensive drills since the Cold War era, known as Steadfast Defender 2024. These exercises aim to simulate the reinforcement of US forces to European allies, particularly those neighboring Russia and situated on the alliance’s eastern borders. This move comes amidst rising tensions with a “near-peer” adversary. “Steadfast Defender 2024 will demonstrate Nato’s ability to rapidly deploy forces from North America and other parts of the alliance to reinforce the defence of Europe,” a Nato statement said.
Troop deployment and military assets

  • Personnel: Approximately 90,000 troops are set to participate, as announced by Nato’s top commander, Chris Cavoli.
  • Naval Force: The naval showcase includes over 50 vessels, ranging from aircraft carriers to destroyers.
  • Air power: The skies will be patrolled by over 80 assets, including fighter jets, helicopters, and drones.
  • Ground forces: The ground contingent boasts 1,100 combat vehicles, with a notable lineup of 133 tanks and 533 infantry fighting vehicles.
  • Rehearsal for defense: These drills are not just a show of force but a meticulous rehearsal of Nato’s regional defense strategies, marking the first such detailed planning in decades against potential Russian aggression.
  • ercise is a significant escalation in scale and intensity, comparable to the Cold War’s Reforger in 1988 and the more recent Trident Juncture in 2018.

Geographical span & allies’ participation
Global participation: Troops from across Nato nations, including prospective member Sweden, will be involved.
Focus areas: The exercises will not just simulate transatlantic troop movement but also include ground-level operations. Special attention will be on deploying Nato’s quick reaction force to Poland and securing vulnerable regions like the Baltic states, Germany, Norway, and Romania.
What they are saying: Steadfast Defender 2024 exercise has sparked discussions among some social media users, leading to conjecture that Nato might be preparing for a prospective confrontation with Russia in the future. As per a Newsweek report, on Alex Jones’ InfoWars podcast, conservative commentator Jack Posobiec interpreted Nato’s description of the exercise as “a simulated emerging conflict scenario against a near-peer adversary” to mean “it’s going to be a war game with Russia.”
Irrevocable return: The magnitude of Nato’s Steadfast Defender 2024 exercises signifies a definitive shift back to Cold War-era postures, according to Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Alexander Grushko. Speaking to the state-run RIA news agency, Grushko remarked, “An exercise of this scale … marks the final and irrevocable return of Nato to the Cold War schemes, when the military planning process, resources, and infrastructure are being prepared for confrontation with Russia.”
West’s aggressive posture: Grushko further criticized the exercises, viewing them as part of a broader “hybrid war unleashed by the West against Russia.” These comments underscore the deepening rift between Russia and Nato, amidst escalating tensions and strategic maneuvers.
Strategic shift: These preparations mark a strategic pivot from Nato’s post-Cold War stance, which previously did not anticipate the need for such large-scale defense plans, to a renewed focus on collective security against potential threats from nations like Russia.
(With inputs from agencies)

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