Falklands Islands dispute: Tensions are rising in the South Atlantic. Argentina is in no mood to let its sovereignty be infringed. Argentina is on the verge of signing a major military deal with China that will change the regional politics of the South Atlantic forever.
But why has Argentina signed military deals and is looking to sign a few more. Is there something more to this story? Join us as we explore this developing situation and investigate what it could mean for Argentina’s claim to the Falklands Islands.
Recently, the Argentine Embassy in China revealed that Buenos Aires is looking into the option of buying the JF-17 aircraft. Analysts say that this fighter jet, which is the result of the collaboration between China and Pakistan, is the best for Argentina in terms of performance and availability.
Sabino Vaca Narvaja, the Argentine Ambassador to China, held a meeting with the Argentine Defence Minister Jorge Taiana and his staff in Buenos Aires to discuss the possibility of working together with China in the area of national defence.
Argentina has been attempting to acquire new fighter jets to replace its ageing and diminishing air force for some time, yet due to the ongoing Falklands clash, the UK has thwarted Argentina’s efforts to purchase aircraft from abroad.
The Falkland Islands are an archipelago of islands located in the South Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Argentina. The islands have been claimed by both Britain and Argentina since the 19th century. Argentina has long argued that it was the rightful owner of the islands, as it controlled them prior to the British occupation. The two countries have clashed over the issue ever since, with both sides claiming sovereignty over the islands.
In 1982, Argentina, which was then under a military dictatorship, and Britain went to war over the sovereignty of the islands. After 74 days of battle, which left 649 Argentines and 255 British soldiers dead, the United Kingdom was able to reclaim the South Atlantic archipelago they had been occupying since 1833.
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Four decades later, the dispute over the Malvinas has yet to be resolved, and for Argentines the war remains an open wound. The tensions flared lately.
In the first week of March, Argentina has informed the UK that it is ending a 2016 agreement regarding the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands. The pact is known as the ‘Foradori-Duncan’ pact.
In 2016, Argentina and the UK signed the Foradori-Duncan pact, a non-binding statement which allowed them to cooperate on matters such as energy, shipping and fishing, despite having different views on sovereignty. It also stipulated the identification of unknown Argentine soldiers killed in battle.
The British government described the move as ‘disappointing’. UK’s Foreign Secretary Mr Cleverly insisted “the Falkland Islands are British”.
The Falkland Islands are British.
Islanders have the right to decide their own future – they have chosen to remain a self-governing UK Overseas Territory. https://t.co/UTpiyJ74LN
— James Cleverly🇬🇧 (@JamesCleverly) March 2, 2023
But, this decision comes after the UK refused to enter into negotiations over the sovereignty of the Islands. The fighter jet deal with China at such a time is a crucial one. China strongly supports Argentina’s claim to the Falklands/Malvinas Islands and believes that Argentina should exercise full sovereignty over them.
The JF-17 has evolved into three blocks, which are labelled Block 1, Block 2, and Block 3. The most advanced version, Block 3, features cutting-edge systems such as an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, a combination of China’s most sophisticated beyond-visual-range and short-range missiles, and sophisticated avionics and flight control systems.
Not only this, on March 18th, Admiral Julio Guardia, the Chief of General Staff of the Argentinian Navy, stated that the navy is in talks with the Norwegian government about buying three to four Lockheed P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft.
Argentina is also in talks with India over the sale of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. However, the deal is stuck due to the UK’s arms embargo against the South American country.
Argentina had aimed to buy five French Dassault Super Etendard planes, but the arms embargo on the MK6 ejection seat, made in the UK, prevented it from doing so. The US has offered to sell ex-Danish F-16 A/B MLU to Argentina, but it is currently in talks with the UK in order to secure permission for the deal. United Nations Naval Institute term UK’s policy over Falklands Islands outdated.
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For several years, Argentina has lacked an interceptor fighter, while Brazil and Chile, its neighbors, are far more well-supplied, in both quality and quantity.
Argentina’s president, Alberto Fernandez, said in an interview with Financial Times, “Argentina has to allocate its resources to more important things than the purchase of military aircraft. We are in an unequal continent, but there are no war problems, and unity among countries is sought.”
Further, British forces are at their weakest since World War 2. We’re not claiming it, its ex-commander has said it.
Colonel Richard Kemp has warned that the UK’s military is so weakened that it would have a hard time engaging in battle with a well-equipped state. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, had been urged to increase defence spending, due to the lack of soldiers, few ammunition supplies, and an inadequate number of armoured vehicles.
Argentina is making moves to assert its claim to the Falklands. It’s in no mood to let its sovereignty be violated anymore. Buenos Aires is strategically strengthening its military and diplomatic interests in the backdrop of the UK’s vulnerable position. It is familiar with the arrogance of Britain, which has still not come out of its imperialistic tendency, and realises that it is the right time to fight back against this neo-colonial endeavour by Britain to violate its territorial integrity.
Therefore, Argentina is not backing down and is certainly not afraid of the laughable threats of the coloniser Britain. For a long time, Britain has disregarded the ambitions of sovereign countries but not anymore.
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