The northern port city of Alexandroupoli is preparing in earnest in view of the Defender 21 military exercise – one of the largest ever conducted by NATO – as it will serve as the passage point of a giant fleet on its way to the Black Sea shores of Romania, where the drill will be held in March.
It is projected to involve more than 40,000 troops and 5,000 tanks – highlighting the port’s potential to meet growing military needs and underscoring its role in NATO’s planning.
A delegation of high-ranking US military officials, led by Andre Cameron of the US force in Europe, was in the city yesterday to brief the Port Authority with plans for the crossing. The military officials inspected the port facilities and briefed local authorities on the details of the operation. Another meeting will be held in Alexandroupoli in early November.
Meanwhile, as a part of efforts by Athens to expand its tripartite cooperation schemes with the participation of countries such as India and the United Arab Emirates, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias spoke on the phone on Thursday with his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on strengthening bilateral ties.
The Indian foreign minister stressed that his country considers the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which India has ratified, as a basis for resolving maritime issues.
The closer ties between Greece and India are also being forged against the backdrop of the behavior of the latter’s traditional rival, Pakistan, which has actively backed Ankara’s views in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Dendias on Thursday briefed parliamentary parties about his latest initiatives, and the Athens visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and “his extremely important statement” about Greece’s right to extend its territorial waters – as defined by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea – to 12 nautical miles.