UK 'would be hard put to retake islands'
THREE decades after the Falklands conflict, a defence pressure group has warned that the islands cannot be held if Argentina invades again.
A report by The UK National Defence Association (UKNDA), states that the islands are at greater risk than they have been for the past 30 years.
The report, 'History Repeating – The Falklands at risk again', also states that due to Government defence cuts, Britain would be hard placed to defend, reinforce or retake the Falklands.
The report points out that although Argentina has officially renounced the military option for recapturing the islands, "Argentine military planners still repeatedly plan how to seize the Falkland Islands by force", and bolstered by widespread support throughout Latin America the present Argentine government may find the attraction of the Falklands' oil, fisheries and minerals too great a temptation.
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The islands' coastline cannot be effectively defended from an invasion, the report claims, and while Argentina could easily put almost all of its armed forces into any invasion of the Falklands, a British response would consist of "just four Typhoons, a Type 45 Destroyer, and Rapier short range missiles around Mount Pleasant airfield".
The report was prepared with contributions from Falklands veterans including Major General Julian Thompson, who commanded Plymouth's 3 Commando Brigade during the conflict.
It concludes that if Argentina invaded the Falklands "the UK would be hard put to protect, reinforce or retake the islands. History could well be about repeat itself – but this time with a different outcome."