Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė attended NATO military exercise Iron Sword 2014 at the General Silvestras Žukauskas Training Area. The event involves more than 2,500 troops and 300 military vehicles from 9 NATO member states. It is one of the largest military exercises in Lithuania this year, the presidential press service said.
© DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

The goal of the exercise is to enhance the defence of Lithuania and the Baltic States, improve interoperability of allied troops and prepare properly for various military scenarios. The exercise also serves to test preparedness of the armed forces for standby in the NATO Response Force (NRF).

"Collective defence is the basis of the united and strong NATO. The Wales Summit agreed on concrete collective defence measures for the Baltic States. This exercise is a good proof that NATO is placing special focus on our security and taking concrete measures to ensure it," the president said.

The Wales Summit held in September endorsed the Readiness Action Plan. It was decided to upgrade NATO's defence plans in line with the actual threats, set up NATO command and control elements in the Baltic States, and to conduct regular allied military exercises.

To strengthen defence of the Baltic States, NATO has already reinforced the air policing mission in this region. At present, 6 Canadian, 4 Portuguese and 4 German fighter jets are patrolling in the Baltics. U.S. maintains a continuous military presence in Lithuania on a rotational basis.

According to Grybauskaitė, Lithuania is also taking all the necessary steps to strengthen its armed forces and national defence.

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