Recent British premier vows sharp increase in army spending


(MENAFN) Keir Starmer, the newly appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has announced plans to significantly bolster the nation's defense budget, aiming to gradually increase military spending to 2.5 percent of the country's GDP. Departing for a NATO summit in Washington, Starmer emphasized his commitment to fulfilling this target while ensuring compliance with United Kingdom fiscal rules. He indicated that a comprehensive strategic review will precede any definitive roadmap for defense expenditure, responding to calls from both domestic military leaders and NATO allies for clarity on his administration's defense policy.

In an interview with Reuters ahead of the NATO summit, Starmer clarified that achieving the 2.5 percent GDP defense spending goal is contingent upon the outcomes of the upcoming strategic review. This review, slated to commence next week, is intended to delineate the United Kingdom's future defense posture and identify necessary military capabilities. Specific timelines for the review process or the attainment of the spending objective were not disclosed by Starmer's office.

The commitment to increase defense spending reflects a broader trend among NATO member states, which have struggled for years to meet the alliance's 2 percent GDP defense spending target. The urgency has heightened significantly in the wake of the Ukraine crisis, particularly following Russia's military incursion in 2022, prompting renewed calls for enhanced defense preparedness across Europe.

Starmer, who assumed office following his party's resounding victory in recent elections, reaffirmed the United Kingdom's steadfast support for Ukraine amidst ongoing conflict with Russia. The United Kingdom has emerged as a key ally of Kiev, pledging substantial financial and military aid totaling EUR12.5 billion since February 2022, including significant contributions aimed at bolstering Ukraine's defense capabilities.

The Prime Minister's ambitious military spending plans underscore the United Kingdom's proactive stance in enhancing national security and reinforcing its commitment to NATO amidst evolving global security challenges.

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