Canadian Defense Minister Peter McKay has announced that his country is preparing to send more than 1,000 troops on a huge Nanook exercise in the High Arctic in August, the website of Montreal Gazette paper said on Sunday.
“It will be the largest operation that has taken place in recent history,” MacKay told soldiers in Afghanistan. “All of this is very much about enlarging the footprint and the permanent and seasonal presence we have in the North. It is something that we as a government intend to keep investing in.”
The announcement came two days after Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said Russia would deploy troops in the north to defend its interests in the Arctic region.
The Canadian exercise is to play out in several phases on and near Baffin Island and Ellesmere Island throughout August. It will involve CF-18 fighter jets as well as surveillance and transport aircraft, a warship, infantry companies from Quebec and Alberta and 5 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group – Inuit reservists who have broad experience surviving in the extremely austere environment of the Far North.