Georgian President attends US-Georgia drills, hails military cooperation
Georgia, Tbilisi, March 18 /Trend N.Kirtskhalia /
Georgia continues building its army and strengthening the armed forces' defense capability with the help of its strategic partner, the United States, President Mikheil Saakashvili said Sunday while attending the joint Georgian-American drills named "Agile Spirit".
Saakashvili visited Vaziani firing range where the drills are being held, accompanied by Defence Minister Bacho Akhalaia and military attaches of diplomatic missions.
"Another 400 of our military get the experience and knowledge from members of the world's best army. All such exercises are of vital importance for us, because our soldiers are getting combat experience. If an army has no combat experience, especially in our region, it's not worth a dime", Saakashvili said.
He said that despite criticism, Georgia will continue to participate in Afghanistan operations.
The Georgian President also stressed that, despite the lack of funds, Georgia started to produce military equipment, which successfully passes tests at military exercises.
Joint exercises of the U.S. marine infantrymen and the fourth infantry brigade of the Georgian Defense Ministry Agile Spirit 2012 on the training ground of the Vaziani military base will last until March 24.
The exercise involves over 300 marine infantrymen from the Marine Corps' Black Sea Rotational Force 12 based in Constanta, Romania.
The purpose of joint exercises is to intensify the interoperability of the armed forces of both countries, to help them to exchange their knowledge and experience. The exercises also include testing of military equipment, escorting and neutralizing the self-made explosive device.
Agile Spirit is what is scheduled to become an annual exercise and supplements other military engagements such as the Georgia Deployment Program, which is a U.S. Marine Corps program that prepares Georgian Armed Forces to deploy to Afghanistan in support of the International Security Assistance Force.
Black Sea Rotational Force 12 is a rotational deployment of Marines to the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions to work with partner and allied nations to help build their military capacity, promote stability throughout the region, and build enduring partnerships with 19 nations throughout Europe.