London, July 23 (ANI): Britain, which is considered as one of the world's most wealthy and powerful countries, faces the challenge of insufficient funds to protect itself against all potential threats.
"We don't have the money as a country to protect ourselves against every potential future threat, we just don't have it. The country is in an economic crisis, defence cannot be exempted from it," British Defence Secretary, Liam Fox said.
He indicated that the UK would have to give up one or more military capabilities, while still contributing to collective security pacts such as NATO.
Hinting at a substantial cut to conventional forces such as tanks and fighter aircraft, Fox said that the military had to be configured only for "realistic potential future threats."
His admission has raised doubt on the future its 25,000 troops currently stationed in Germany. The Defence Secretary has previously said that he hoped to withdraw them at some point, leaving Britain without a presence in the country for the first time since 1945.
"I would say, what do Challenger tanks in Germany and the costs of maintaining them and the personnel required to train for them, what does that contribute to what's happening in Afghanistan?" he asked.
Fox also indicated that 30,000 servicemen might be sacrificed to meet the Government's stringent review of departmental budgets.
Early this week, in a speech at Farnborough air show this week, he said that Britain's fleets of warships, fighters and armoured vehicles would be reduced because the MoD's equipment programme was "entirely unaffordable".
Meanwhile, a National Audit Office report has shown that the MoD was already 500 million pounds over budget for the current financial year with "insufficient funds to meet planned expenditure".
There has been growing speculation that the Army could be reduced by a quarter of its strength to 75,000 under the defence review, the report said.
Fox, however, insisted that no troops would be made redundant until the fighting in Afghanistan was over.
"Everything that we might want to do with the Army will be constrained by what's happening in Afghanistan, any changes will have to be phased in. But with the Army in particular the difficulties come with how stretched we currently are providing forces in Afghanistan," he added. (ANI)