“Don”t forget the war” Falkland Islands hit back at Argentina in row over military drills

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The UK plans to hold war training on the Falklands from tomorrow until the end of October – drills a spokeswoman for the British embassy in Buenos Aires said were “routine”.

British troops will be deployed in the Falklands for “exercises with Rapier missiles” between October 19 and October 28.

Argentina reacted angrily to the announcement, branding the military movements “illegitimate” and saying they were being carried out in “bad faith” given recent improvements in ties with Britain.

But Mike Summers, a member of the legislative assembly of the Falkland Islands, said Argentina has no reason to feel threatened.

He said: “I do not understand why Argentina is concerned

“They are short-range manoeuvres that have been practiced for several years.”

The drills are intended to be “defence” training and were not aimed at unsettling Argentina, Mr Summers said.

The exercises – taking place in disputed territory that Argentina still claims as its own – will include missile launches.

He added: “The Falklands were invaded by Argentina in the past. Because of this, we have these routine exercises.

“The launch of these missiles will occur very near Port Stanley and they will only travel a few miles.”

The Falkland islanders overwhelmingly voted in favour of remaining a British Overseas Territory in a poll in 2013.

However, Argentina has continued to criticise the UK for “militarising” the region.

The exercise follows a recent thaw in relations, which was cemented with a joint declaration between the two historic foes promising greater cooperation.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced the UK”s desire for a new and positive phase of relations with Argentina.

But Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra responded: “It causes pain and deep anxiety because it carries a presumption of a conflict hypothesis.”

Argentine MP Alejandro Grandinetti also said: “They will be there 10 days, 12 hours a day, with different military tests, including missiles, which underlines that beyond any agreement, there is no willingness to change anything about the British presence in the islands.

“This is the proof of whether the British are willing to discuss sovereignty or not, and clearly they are not.”

Argentina and Britain went to war from April 2 to June 14, 1982, over the island”s sovereignty.

Since then the relationship has been fractious with decades of negotiations and stand offs.

In 2013, a referendum asking whether the Falkland islanders supported the continuation of their status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom prompted an almost unanimous response from the island”s inhabitants.

On a turnout of 92 per cent, an overwhelming 99.8 per cent voted to remain a British territory, with only three votes against.