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Med focus raises Gib’s military profile in uncertain times

Britain’s increasing focus on defence issues in the Mediterranean region has raised Gibraltar’s profile as a military base, the Commander British Forces said in his last interview before retiring from the role.

Commodore Ian McGhie, who will step down as CBF tomorrow, said geostrategic developments across the Mediterranean basin had strengthened the Rock’s role as an important staging post for the UK and its allies.

“The Mediterranean is becoming an increasing focal point of UK defence interests,” he said.

“I think that Gibraltar, moving forward, has an even stronger case to make as regarding being the forward mounting base of choice.”

The CBF was speaking to the Chronicle yesterday morning in his office in The Tower, but the reality of what he was saying could be seen just a few feet away.

Outside, HMS Mersey and HMS Kent were berthed alongside at the Naval Base. On the quayside, Royal Marines prepared amphibious vehicles ready to be loaded on to HMS Ocean, which was due in port later that day.

The Commodore’s positive parting assessment is significant because his successor, Commodore Mike Walliker, takes over at a time of cuts across much of the UK’s global military operations.



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