In a bid to secure its last outpost in South America, the British government is to deploy its most sophisticated warship to the occupied Falkland Islands to give a clear war message to Argentina.
The Ministry of Defense revealed that destroyer HMS Dauntless will sail to the South Atlantic in order to substitute frigate HMS Montrose in the coming weeks. It was claimed that the deployment was long planned but the decision is evidently put in practice when a war of words between Argentina and Britain over the disputed Falkland islands (known as Las Malvinas to Argentina) has intensified.
Tory MP Julian Brazier, who is also a defense select committee’s member, stressed that Britain’s move will send a “powerful and timely message” to the Argentina government that UK “means business when it comes to defending the Falklands.”
While repeating UK government’s colonial policy, Brazier said, “These islanders want to remain British and any oil or gas found in its waters will be British.”
The islands, located about 250 nautical miles from Argentina, have been a British colony for over 180 years. However, Argentina also claimed sovereignty as it controlled the islands before, and the two countries fought a destructive 74-day war over the islands in 1982.
As 30th anniversary of the Argentina-Britain war nears, the dispute over the territory is heating up once again. The British government is attempting to prevent any counter-move taken by Argentina to reclaim its occupied islands.
Jeremy Browne, Foreign Office minister in charge of Latin America, will travel to the islands in June to attend the anniversary of capturing the islands from Argentina. It was formerly announced that the Duke of Cambridge Prince William will also be posted to spend six weeks on the islands as an RAF search-and-rescue pilot next month. Buenos Aires described the move as being “provocative.”
The destroyer is a £1billion warship equipped with supersonic Sea Viper missiles, radar and an air defense system, being able of shooting a cricket ball moving at three times the speed of sound out of the sky.
A Navy source said that the warship could “shoot down Argentine fighters as soon as they take off from their bases,” insisting the deployment would give the Argentina government “serious pause” for thinking about their claims.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary William Hague underplayed the deployment of the warship, claiming they were routine moves, but warning “the Royal Navy packs a considerable punch.”
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