Toronto (Canada), Aug 25 (EFE) .- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg traveled with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the Canadian Arctic on Thursday to visit a NATO Early Warning Radar Station North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) .
Stoltenberg’s visit to the remote town of Cambridge Bay, in the self-governing territory of Nunavut, marks the first visit by a NATO Secretary General to the Canadian Arctic.
In an op-ed published Wednesday in “The Globe and Mail,” one of Canada’s leading newspapers, Stoltenberg said his visit to the Arctic will serve to underline the region’s strategic importance “to Euro-Atlantic security.”
Stoltenberg added that “the shortest route to North America for Russian missiles or bombers would be over the North Pole.”
In Cambridge Bay, Stoltenberg witnessed part of Canada’s Arctic military exercise known as Operation Nanook every year.
The NATO Secretary General also visited the Canadian Arctic Research Station, a high-tech center that began construction in 2014.
On Friday, Stoltenberg and Trudeau will visit Cold Lake Air Force Base, in northern Alberta province, where the fighter jets are stationed to ensure the safety of Canada’s Arctic.
Canada has responded to Russia’s growing interest in the Arctic with plans to increase its military presence in the country’s northern regions.
In June, Canada’s Department of Defense announced that it would spend Canadian dollars 4.9 billion (about $3.8 billion) over the next few years to upgrade Norad’s facilities in the region.