UK to deploy aircraft carrier as part of Indo-Pacific ‘renewed focus’

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Written by Aditi Khanna

The UK authorities has introduced plans for the deployment of a brand new Carrier Strike Group led by aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth later this yr as part of its “renewed focus” on the Indo-Pacific area, following talks with Japan.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab mentioned the deployment of the aircraft carrier in the course of the “2+2” digital assembly with their respective Japanese counterparts, Ministers Toshimitsu Motegi and Nobuo Kishi, this week.

“The UK’s Indo-Pacific tilt, including the visit of HMS Queen Elizabeth to the region, demonstrates our shared priorities and common strategic interests from maritime security to climate change and free trade,” mentioned Raab.

It marks the UK’s newest post-Brexit transfer focused on the Indo-Pacific area, following its formal software earlier this week to be part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) free commerce group, the 2021 Commission for which is being chaired by Japan.

“Japan and the UK have forged a close defence and security partnership that is being elevated to new heights this year when the UK Carrier Strike Group visits the Indo-Pacific,” mentioned Wallace.

“The most significant Royal Navy deployment in a generation demonstrates the UK’s commitment to working with our partners in the region to uphold the rules based international system and promote our shared security and prosperity,” he mentioned.

The UK’s transfer comes amid China’s aggressive strikes within the Indo-Pacific area. China claims nearly all of the South China Sea as its sovereign territory. China has been constructing navy bases on synthetic islands within the area additionally claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam Beijing has impeded industrial exercise like fishing or mineral exploration by nations like Vietnam and the Philippines, claiming that the possession of territory belonged to China for lots of of years.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) mentioned that the Carrier Strike Group (CSG21) will herald a brand new period for UK-Japan defence and safety cooperation, offering alternatives for the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy and their respective Japanese counterparts to function collectively and help alternatives for future collaboration, together with on the F35 and Amphibious programmes.

The FCDO mentioned a latest Maritime Security Arrangement agreed between the Royal Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Forces (JMSDF) is one instance of how the 2 nations’ Armed Forces are deepening their relationship.

The association, signed by JMSDF and the First Sea Lord Tony Radakin – head of the Royal Navy – will see the 2 nations share maritime area consciousness between one another, serving to to create a secure atmosphere for worldwide transport transiting between the Indo-Pacific and Europe.

In this spirit, the 4 ministers dedicated to additional cooperation on monitoring illicit ship-to-ship transfers by North Korea.

In latest years, the FCDO famous {that a} rising defence partnership between the UK and Japan has seen the British Army turn out to be the one Army aside from the US to practice with Japanese forces on Japanese soil.

The Vigilant Isles coaching train collection establishes annual cooperation on coaching workouts between the British Army and Japanese Ground Self-Defence Forces (JGSDF).

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