UK'S TILT TOWARDS THE INDO-PACIFIC
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Diplomatist|April 2021
“The Indo-Pacific is a reality. At the end of the day, it’s an articulation of globalisation and the kind of challenges the world faces today require a larger arena and more coordinated efforts,” said S. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, India during the visit of Dominic Raab, the UK’s Foreign Secretary to India in December last year.
VAIBHAVI PINGALE

After three months of the visit, the government of the UK has published the first comprehensive review of the UK’s defence, security, development and foreign policy since the Cold War, titled Global Britain in a Competitive Agei. The UK’s new foreign and security policy identifies the US as its ‘most important strategic ally’ and Russia as its most ‘acute threat’.

However, the UK has so far only outlined a ‘framework’ for its ‘tilt’; and it has not yet defined the region geographically. When the British Foreign Policy Group asked Brits whether they supported the UK’s greater involvement in the region, more than 50 per cent said they did not know or opposed the shift. The UK is not on the Pacific Rim and has limited assets in the region.

Experts observe the reason behind the tilt is the self-exclusion from the European single market and post-Brexit the UK needs new trading waters in which to fish, while at the same time the rise of China requires the UK to give a more coherent response.

Special emphasis on this region as it now accounts for close to half of global economic output and more than half the world’s population: it contains the world’s two most populous nations, China and India; the world’s second and third-largest economies, China and Japan; the world’s largest democracy, India. Its sea lanes are the world’s most critical, including the Malacca Strait linking the Indian Ocean with the South China Sea.

Further, China, India and Japan are recognised as the three most important powers iii in the Indo-Pacific with widely differing characteristics and relationships with the UK. These three nations have a different reaction to UK’s entrance into this region; two of them, Japan and India are feeling positive about it, and China is not really in favour of this decision.

Japan’s Reaction

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