Garibashvili’s plans include school students and preschool children " />

Georgian defence minister candidate presents plans – calls for production of all weapons, except nuclear

Garibashvili’s plans include school students and preschool children

Since the resignation of the Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze and the nomination of the widely disliked and current Minister of Internal Affairs Giorgi Gakharia for the premiership, the Georgian parliament has had an exciting week. 

Gakharia has already submitted to the parliament a list of his proposals for the new cabinet, and this week, candidates for ministers met with MPs and presented their programmes.

REUTERS/Georgy Kakulia

On September 3, parliamentary committees held meetings with several candidates, including Irakli Garibashvili, the former prime minister and a contender for the post of defense minister.

Garibashvili’s plans do not limit themselves to the military, but include kindergarten and school children as well, promising to ensure their ‘military and patriotic education.’ 

JAMnews took a closer look at Garibashvili’s programme:

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Reform of the reserves – everyone into the army!

Garibashvili believes the Georgian army is losing valuable resources by not calling on men aged 18 to 50 to serve.  

He noted there are around 785,000 men that fall into this age range, and that the population should undergo both short-term retraining courses, but also six- and nine-month courses, as a result of which the country will have “about one million trained men.” 

“This is a resource of our country which must be used correctly.  I believe that our cooperation will be fruitful”, said Garibashvili. 

Raising salaries and discipline 

Garibashvili said one of his main tasks as minister would be to ensure decent living conditions for servicemen and increase salaries.

“Particular attention will be paid to order, discipline, nutrition, equipment, weapons. We will work to improve the living conditions of the military, increase social conditions. We will increase salaries, the military will have a decent health package and decent insurance,” Garibashvili said.

The army in every family

Garibashvili believes that discussions on military-patriotic topics should be conducted from kindergarten, and this issue “should be the concern of every family.”  

He said special school textbooks have already been developed aimed at strengthening military-patriotic education.

“One of our main foundations should be a strong army.  Respect for the army should be increased, its prestige should be increased, the army should be the subject of pride for each of our citizens. The army should be in every family,” Irakli Garibashvili said.

Arms production

Garibashvili says the production of weapons of all kinds, except nuclear, should begin in Georgia. The country spends millions on the purchase of weapons and ammunition – and thus, Garibashvili says, it would be better for the country to begin producing its own arms.

He mentioned an initiative to build a bullet producing factory. 

“The project to build such a plant was crucial even when I was working as prime minister … We must do this, and we must start today.  Of course, we must arrange the production of all weapons except nuclear. I think that we can solve this problem,” Irakli Garibashvili said.

Revival of the Tbilisi aviation plant

Garibashvili said that in Georgia it is necessary to resume the production of military aircraft production, meaning the revival of the Tbilisi aircraft factory, which worked in Soviet times.

“Georgia was an exception in the region, in the sense that there was high-tech production here. And today the so-called 31st factory continues to exist, where military aircraft were produced.

“Fortunately, there are still intellectual resources in our country, those workers who worked to create this unique high-tech product still live in our country. I am going to raise this issue at a government meeting. We must use this unique opportunity – a chance to restore the production of military aircraft,” Irakli Garibashvili said.

NATO, peacekeeping missions and false illusions

Cooperation with NATO and military cooperation with partner states, according to Garibashvili, will remain a priority.

“We are reliable allies and are the most successful graduate students in the entire region. The great merit of our military, its heroism, is that Georgia makes a significant contribution to the security of the Euro-Atlantic area.  We will continue cooperation with NATO, we will fulfill our commitments, implement recommendations, following the principle of “More NATO in Georgia and more Georgia in NATO,” Garibashvili emphasized.

At the same time, touching upon NATO membership, Garibashvili said that “the population should not have false illusions, since the political decision on the issue of joining NATO depends not only on us.”

“We must form real expectations. Our foreign strategic partners, whether America or Europe, have always offered us to formulate these expectations as reasonably as possible so that there isn’t the disappointment that befell us in 2008, when Georgia was embraced by festive moods, the expectation of triumph, and in the end it all ended in the August war”, said Garibashvili.

Who are we fighting with?

Garibashvili said all these projects must be realized, because “Georgia has the hardest challenge – this is the occupation.”

“20 percent of our territory is occupied.  Therefore, we must have a strong army,” he said.

At the same time, Garibashvili noted that “the strengthening of the Georgian army is not directed against anyone or anything.”

“I want to clearly indicate that the strengthening of the Georgian Ministry of Defense’s forces is not directed against anyone. The purpose of this reinforcement is only to increase the capabilities of defense and serves only to strengthen the security of our region”, said Garibashvili.

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