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Denmark Weighs Up Re-Aquiring Submarines After Nearly Two Decades’ Gap

Baltic sea after storm (File photo).InternationalIndiaAfricaThe renewed submarine capacity is said to deal Denmark a «unique hand» regarding its presence in both the Baltic Sea and the Arctic, where the diminutive nation has far-reaching ambitions with the help of Greenland — the world’s largest island and a possession of Denmark.The Nordic nation of Denmark may be about to buy back submarines in a bid to bolster its maritime presence as part of the recent military investment.Denmark ditched its remaining fleet of submarines in 2004, but a lively debate on whether to renew its underwater capacity is well under way as part of the talks over the Danish military’s future requirements, according to a statement from Michael Aastrup Jensen, chairman of Denmark’s foreign policy committee, speaking at an event at the Hudson Institute in New York.According to Jensen, Danish MPs are actively considering whether to buy them in «close cooperation» with «friends.»Jensen made no secret of the fact that Denmark is aiming to reinforce its military, as he stressed Denmark’s «strategic» position, which allows it to keep track of Russia’s Baltic Fleet vessels sailing from St Petersburg or Kaliningrad.Danish experts have already said that a fleet of submarines will deal Denmark a «unique hand» in its game both the Baltic Sea and the Arctic, where the nation of 5.8 million has ambitious plans because of Greenland, the world’s largest island and a possession of Denmark. Several parties in the liberal-conservative «blue» bloc have backed restocking its submarine supplies.One of the main reasons not to buy submarines is because they take such a big chunk out of Denmark’s relatively modest defense budget. However, the possibility of leasing submarines for an extended period of time has also been considered.MilitaryDenmark Aims for NATO Spending Target With Huge Ukraine Aid Package30 May, 08:00 GMTThe recent round of submarine discussions coincide with discussions about replacement of patrol vessels in the Royal Danish Navy as part of the Denmark’s so-called Defense Agreement, which sets out a list of acquisitions over a 10-year span. In 2022, Copenhagen pledged massive investment of DKK 40 billion ($5.8 million) in new naval ships to be built «within the next few years», while committing to a stronger «security of supply».

A Shift in Denmark’s Defense Strategy?

More broadly, under the pretext of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Denmark has introduced a massive shift in its defense posture. First, it terminated its EU military opt-out clause and joined the union’s security policy. Second, it announced a huge increase in defense spending, going from 1.35 percent of the GDP to NATO’s coveted 2 percent mark in a single year.Third, Denmark emerged as one of Kiev’s most active backers per capita, contributing everything from arms to finance and training. Among other things, Copenhagen is part of the European Leopard main battle tank coalition for Ukraine and has agreed to donate all 19 of its Caesar artillery systems. More recently, it has backed plans for F-16 fighter jets to be sent to Kiev and placed itself at the helm of the training the coalition together with the Netherlands. Fourth, Denmark has shifted its overseas presence from faraway areas such as parts of the Middle East to forward presence in the Baltic States. Lastly, Danish PM Mette Frederiksen has been seriously considered as NATO’s new boss as replacement for Jens Stoltenberg.However, Denmark’s military plans may be hemmed by a drastic lack of personnel and an apparent shortage of funds, which already resulted in unpopular measures such as abandoning a centuries-old Christian holiday in a bid to replenish the war chest scraped bare.

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