Norway, Britain Sign Deal on Increased Defense Cooperation

Royal Marines training in Norway, Feb. 2, 2016NATO allies Britain and Norway agreed on Thursday to beef up their defense cooperation, including maritime surveillance and joint exercises on Norwegian soil, amid concerns about a more assertive Russia in northern Europe.

The two countries signed the deal during a visit by British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon to Norway’s Arctic region, Norway’s defense ministry said in a statement.

“Given our geographical vicinity and common challenges in connection to the strategic situation in the North Atlantic, we are well positioned for future cooperation in maritime surveillance,” Norwegian Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said.

“The continuation of capacity for surveillance and anti-submarine operations are important for NATO and close allies….”

In a 2015 interview with Reuters, Soereide said Norway was concerned about what she called an “obvious projection of power” by Russia in the Baltic Sea region, where Russian military flights increased threefold from 2013 to 2014.

Image: Royal Marines training in Norway, Feb. 2, 2016 (photo: UK Ministry of Defense)