Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has revealed plans to increase the number of its high readiness forces to more than 300,000.

The increased presence is one of the many important decisions that will be made at the Nato Summit in Madrid this week. 

There are currently more than 40,000 troops under direct Nato command, with many of them in the eastern part of the Alliance and in the Baltic region.

Speaking at a press conference, Stoltenberg said: “The purpose of this increased presence is to send a message that we are ready to protect and defend every inch of allied territory, including of course Lithuania, and the other Baltic countries.

“And by doing that, we are providing credible deterrence. And the purpose of credible deterrence is not to provoke a conflict, but to prevent a conflict, to prevent Russia or any other potential adversary from attacking a Nato allied country.”

Apart from focusing on the alliance’s deterrence and defence, the leaders will also decide on a new strategic concept to increase security. 

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By GlobalData

For the first time, the concept will deal with challenges posed by China to the alliance’s security, interests, and values.

The alliance leaders will also focus on boosting the ability to reinforce deterrent defences during conflicts and crisis.

This will see more pre-positioned equipment and military supplies across Europe. It will also include strengthening air defence, command and control capabilities, and upgraded defence plans.

In addition, the secretary general said that forces will be pre-assigned to defend specific allies.

Stoltenberg added: “What we are doing now is that, at the summit, we will take decisions that will be transformative for our deterrence and defence that will lead to the fundamental shift in the way we organise collective defence in Nato.

“We don’t have a one size fits all. There are different needs in different countries. And we also need to see the whole region as one and assess the total need for increased forward presence.”

The secretary general also prioritised extending support to Ukraine and noted that a strengthened Comprehensive Assistance Package for the war-torn country could be agreed at the summit.

Ukraine will also receive support in the long-term to help transition from Soviet-era military equipment to modern Nato equipment.

Last month, Finland and Sweden officially applied for Nato membership.