The joint military exercises, Noble Partner 2017, with the participation of the US in Georgia this year will be more ambitious both in terms of the number of participating countries and the number of personnel and military equipment involved, as stated by Georgian Defense Minister Levan Isoria, on Saturday on Georgian TV channel Imedi.
According to him, the exercises, which will be held from July 30th to August 12th at the Vaziani training ground near Tbilisi, are a part of a large series of exercises conducted by the United States European Command.
Izoria reminded that earlier exercises were held in Romania, Ukraine, and Bulgaria, and that the Noble Partner 2017 exercise in Georgia is the end of this series.
The Noble Partner exercises, which are held in Georgia, "have certain dynamics," the Minister said, noting that "they are becoming more ambitious."
"In 2015 only two countries took part in them, the USA and Georgia. In 2016 the United Kingdom joined, then this year the scale has increased significantly, with five NATO countries and three alliance partners participating in them," Izoria said.
He specified that approximately 2,800 servicemen and nearly 500 units of military equipment, including American Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, and Stryker armored fighting vehicles, will take part in the exercises. According to him, air capabilities will also be used in the exercises.
The Minister also pointed out the importance of the visit of US Vice President Mike Pence to Georgia on July 31st, to personally get acquainted with the course of these exercises.
"This is the recognition that Georgia is a worthy partner of the United States and NATO," Izoria said.
According to the Minister, a strategic partnership with the US implies not only in the participation in multinational exercises.
He recalled that in accordance with the Memorandum signed with the United States in 2016 and the three-year agreement, the Georgia Defense Readiness Program is being launched this year.
According to the Georgian Minister, the United States will assist Georgia in training military personnel to participate in international missions as part of this program until March 2018. Military personnel will be trained for three years with an emphasis on fulfilling the tasks of territorial defense. "This year, the necessary infrastructure will be created for this program," Izoria said.