On Wednesday, His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf and His Royal Highness Prince Carl Philip of Sweden participated in a major military exercise on Sweden’s largest island, Gotland, outside the Swedish mainland in the Baltic Sea.
“It is useful to me. It is useful for the practising covenants. I am participating in military exercises every year in different places around Sweden, but this one is bigger than normal, more composite and it is the military of other nations here, too. They practice together, and they are exciting of course,” said His Majesty the King.
The exercise is called Aurora 17 and lasts several days. The Swedish Defence is trying to defend Gotland from a foreign invasion, as Gotland has a significant strategic importance for all the nations around the Baltic Sea. The Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf participated in the exercise as General, while his son, Prince Carl Philip is Major.
“The Aurora 17 is an exercise that has been planned for several years, and it is important that the defence get this opportunity to practice with other countries and the opportunity to learn from each other,” said His Majesty to the Gotland newspaper. “It feels nice! It is like coming home,” said His Royal Highness Prince Carl Philip to SVT.
Aurora 17 is the largest exercise in Sweden for more than 20 years. All combat forces and more than 19,000 men and women took part. Also, several authorities and 2,000 military personnel from the United States, Finland, France, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark and Norway did, as well. The exercise is conducted in the air, on the ground and at sea. The practice ends next Friday.
Gotland is a province, county, municipality, and diocese of Sweden. It is Sweden’s largest island. The island’s main sources of income are agriculture along with food processing, tourism, information technology services, design, and some heavy industry such as concrete production from locally mined limestone. From a military viewpoint, it occupies a strategic location in the Baltic Sea.