London: Britain wants to expand its influence among countries in the Indo-Pacific region to try to moderate China’s global dominance, a document laying out post-Brexit foreign and defense policy priorities said.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who formally launched the ‘Global Britain in a competitive age: The Integrated Review of Security, Defense, Development and Foreign Policy’ document in the House of Commons, underlined this so-called Indo-Pacific tilt by confirming his visit to India next month, an application for partner status of the Association of Southeast Asian nations (ASEAN) economic union and the Royal Navy warship Queen Elizabeth Carrier deployment to the region.
“I am delighted to announce that I will visit India next month to strengthen our friendship with the world’s biggest democracy,” he said in his Commons statement.
“Britain will remain unswervingly committed to NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organisation] and preserving peace and security in Europe, and from this secure basis, we will seek out friends and partners wherever they can be found, building a coalition for openness and innovation, and engaging more deeply in the Indo-Pacific,” he said, highlighting an invitation to India, Australia and South Korea to attend the UK-hosted G7 Summit as part of “deeper engagement” in the Indo-Pacific.
Besides being at the “frontline of new security challenges”, the region’s shipping lanes are also seen as vital to maintain UK trade with Asia.
The 100-page document also takes note of China’s growing international stature as being “by far the most significant geopolitical factor in the world today”, with major implications for British values and interests and for the structure and shape of the international order.