UK to shift foreign policy focus to Indo-Pacific in post-Brexit review

Aditi Khanna
·3-min read

London, Mar 16 (PTI) The UK must shift its foreign policy focus to the Indo-Pacific region, with countries such as India, Japan and Australia at the heart of this move, a year-long Integrated Review of the country's post-Brexit “Global Britain” vision concluded on Tuesday.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who will formally release the review in the House of Commons later on Tuesday, is to activate the so-called Indo-Pacific tilt with a visit to India at the end of next month, an application for partner status of the Association of South East Asian nations (ASEAN) economic union and the Royal Navy warship Queen Elizabeth Carrier deployment to the region.

The year-long review had been commissioned as a future policy framework for the UK as a non-member of the European Union (EU).

“The objective of Global Britain is not to swagger or strike attitudes on the world stage. It is to use the full spectrum of our abilities, now amplified by record spending on both defence and science, to engage with and help the rest of the world,” writes Johnson in ‘The Times’ ahead of the review launch.

“The world needs Global Britain more than ever and, to be truly prosperous and successful, Britain needs to be global,” he said.

The 100-page document also confirms the launch of two new cross-government hubs – a Counter-Terrorism Operations Centre, aimed at significantly improving the UK’s ability to 'thwart terrorists', and a White House style Situation Centre based in the Cabinet Office to improve the 'use of data' to anticipate and respond to future crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Integrated Review also establishes tackling climate change and preserving biodiversity as the UK’s number one international priority in the decade ahead.

“The Review sets out how the whole of government, as well as our extensive capabilities and international partnerships, will be brought together to shape the international order and protect and champion the UK’s interests and values,” Downing Street said.

It added that the review is to make clear that the UK cannot rely solely on an increasingly “outdated international system” to protect its interests and promote its values. Instead, it will establish a new government foreign policy of increased “international activism” and a UK that works, alongside its allies to shape a more open international order in which democracies flourish.

The review has been launched to coincide with the UK’s Presidency of the G7 and prepare to host the United Nations COP26 climate Summit.

In November 2020, Johnson had announced the first outcome of the review which involved a major programme of investment in defence since the end of the Cold War, a hike of 16.5 billion pound.

Investment in cutting-edge technology and an increase in nuclear warheads also form part of the future plans laid out in what has been termed the most comprehensive articulation of a foreign policy and national security approach published by a British government in decades. PTI AK SCY AKJ SCY