London: Britain will find it ‘impossible’ to win back the Falkland Islands if Argentina invades them again, one of the country’s senior military figures has warned.
The former head of the Army, General Sir Michael Jackson, said that defence cuts have made it ‘impossible’ to win the islands back after a successful invasion, in the way the British task force did in 1982.
“What if an Argentinean force was able to secure the Mount Pleasant airfield? Then our ability to recover the islands now would be just about impossible,” The Telegraph quoted General Jackson, as saying.
“We are not in a position to take air power by sea since the demise of the Harrier force,” General Jackson, who was Chief of the General Staff until five years ago and led the Army into Iraq, added.
According to the report, the UK no longer has an aircraft carrier and the Harrier fleet, which performed with such distinction during the Falklands War, has been sold to the US Marine Corps.
Argentina President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has restated the nation’s claims to sovereignty over the islands it calls the Malvinas, saying, “We are going to get them back”.
According to the paper, General Jackson believes they could still fall to a surprise attack.
“The official answer will be that it would not be possible for the Argentinians to gain a foothold on the islands, in particular to take Mount Pleasant, which is key to the British defence plan,” General Jackson said.
“Defences on the Falklands are now, by a factor of several tens, better than they were in 1982. We have a large international-sized airfield to allow for very rapid reinforcement by air, should circumstances so require,” he said.
“But I suppose I have learned in life, never say never,” he added.