In his Independence Day address on Monday, the Defense Forces Commander in Chief Maj. Gen. Riho Terras focused at length on NATO and stressed that the world is still full of threats the alliance has to tackle.
A month shy of the ten-year anniversary of Estonia joining NATO, Terras said the period has demonstrated that the principle of collective defense remains vital.
He also said that ten years of warfare in Afghanistan has taken the co-operation of the allies to an unseen level. To maintain that ability, regular collective excercises are essential and necessary, as several large-scale military exercises in Russia have demonstrated.
Terras thanked Estonian officers and soldiers for their service in Afghanistan and said that the time has come for Afghans themselves to take charge of their country.
Citing the mission to the Central African Republic, Terras said that Estonia continues to demonstrate its reliability as an ally.
“We are part of a fortress that the protection of, along with our friends and Allies, is our joint responsibility, this fortress is NATO. Confirmation of this can be seen here at the Defense Forces parade where we can see our brothers in arms from the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Denmark with whom we served with in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. Our good friends and neighbours from Latvia and Lithuania are here as well. We thank you!” Terras said.
The address in full can be read here.