Outgoing Commander British Forces In Falklands Hails 'Improved' Argentina Relationship
The outgoing Commander British Forces in the South Atlantic Islands has hailed the relationship between the Falkland Islands and Argentina as improved.Brigadier Baz Bennett mentioned thatthe search for the missing Argentine Submarine, San Juan, in 2017 as a key turning point.
“Whilst clearly our thoughts still go out to the 44 families of the sailors who lost their lives in that tragic incident, for me to be able to take this place operationally... and see the sailors and the airmen and airwomen perform so fantastically in supporting Argentina during that period was a real highlight,” Brigadier Bennett told Forces News.
Another incident that helped improve relations with Argentina was the rededication of stones with additional names of Argentine service personnel who died during the 1982 conflict.
“Over 250 people came across [from Argentina]. The way in which the Scots presented themselves that day, who were the infantry battalion down here at the time... was truly humbling to watch and hugely appreciated."
He also praised the freedoms British personnel in the Falklands have to learn and develop skills.
"This is the only place I’ve ever been in my career where the locals phone up and complain when the jets haven’t screamed over their houses because they love us that much.
"We have real freedoms on the ranges, there are ranges here that we can fire in 360 degrees.
"And then, of course, we have the ability to go onto private land," he added.
He also underlined the ability of the three services to work together.
“It’s a thing that’s cited to me all the time by those who are leaving here. The interaction of the three services working together is the best that I have ever seen.”
“But perhaps the most important [thing],” he added, “is autonomy.”
“The autonomy that we have down here is unbelievable. We can move at a pace where people can make mistakes... learn from it and then try it again.
“People, I genuinely believe, leave this place better for their experience when they go back to the UK."