Chief of the Defense Staff of the British Armed Forces Gen. Nicholas Houghton concluded his two-day visit yesterday, calling for the Estonian and British militaries to continue close cooperation after NATO forces pull out of Afghanistan.
Future plans include Estonian involvement in British exercises, increased focus for exchange programs in military academies, and participation in an international military unit that would be capable of quickly responding to crises around the world, reported ETV.
Speaking at a press conference at the Estonian Defense Ministry yesterday, Houghton said: "The nature of the frequency of exercises that Estonians might participate within the United Kingdom is yet to be worked out in detail. But this is one of the things that we would wish to develop within the construct of the joint expeditionary force to have what we would call a drumbeat of exercises that we can decide on into the future. And the idea is that in 2015 we would establish an initial operating capability for this and then carried that forward to a full operating capability in maybe 2016."
Estonian Commander in Chief Maj. Gen. Riho Terras said the first steps for fostering inter-unit contacts have been taken.
"These are like friendship units, between one and another battalion, where the staff level does not need to intermediate, where people can have a relationship and get to know each other as they have done in Afghanistan," Terras said.