A vote for Scottish independence could spark an emergency defence response similar to a terrorist attack on Faslane, according a defence expert.
The House of Commons Defence Committee kicked off its scrutiny of the defence implications of possible Scottish independence on Tuesday.
It is following the lead of the Scottish Affairs Committee, which last month heard Armed Forces Minister Nick Harvey say that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has made no contingency plans for independence.
The Defence Committee heard from Professor Malcolm Chalmers, director of research at Royal United Services Institute, and retired Lt Col Stuart Crawford, who now works as a political and media defence consultant in Edinburgh.
Lt Col Crawford said it would be "sensible" for the Scottish Government and the UK Government to begin a dialogue with the MoD on independence as soon as possible.
In the absence of formal pre-independence discussions and contingency plans, Prof Chalmers said the MoD could deploy plans in place for "other sorts of emergencies".
"In my experience there are people in the MoD that are thinking about these things and talking about them," he said.
"I think going the extra stage and asking the armed forces to make detailed plans for contingencies which would only be relevant in the case of Scottish independence is much harder.
"As far as I know they are not making that sort of detailed planning.
"Clearly, some of the aspects of independence could overlap with other sorts of emergencies.
"For example, if there were to be some sort of terrorist attack that closed Faslane for a period of months, then that sort of contingency planning — which I presume that there is — would be relevant to this scenario.
"But there are other aspects of Scottish independence which are unique."
MPs questioned who the Scottish Government is consulting with on their future defence plans, given that neither witness has been asked for their expertise, nor were they aware of anyone else in the wider defence community who has been asked to contribute.
The UK Government's post-independence defence contingencies are similarly unclear, with Prof Chalmers suggesting that there may be "an understandable reluctance from London to reveal negotiating cards prematurely".
He suggested there will be "lots of options" on how to deploy units post-independence, so there is no need to make concrete decisions ahead of the vote.
But he said it was important to provide "enough information to the Scottish people so that they can make an informed decision".
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