UK turns to Indo-Pacific  


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Quad

Mains level: Expansion of Quad

Britain wants to expand its influence among countries in the Indo-Pacific region to try to moderate China’s global dominance.

Seems like QUAD is getting attention from other democratic nations for the big-brother role!

What is the news?

  • A document laying out post-Brexit has highlighted foreign defence policy priorities of the UK.

Britain’s post BREXIT plan

  • This document is Britain’s biggest foreign and defence policy review since the end of the Cold War.
  • It sets out a planned increase to Britain’s nuclear arsenal to weigh against evolving global security threats and underlines the importance of strong ties with the US while naming Russia as the top regional threat.
  • It sets out how PM Boris Johnson wants to be at the forefront of a reinvigorated, rules-based international order based on cooperation and free trade.

Focus on Indo-pacific

  • China and the U.K. both benefit from bilateral trade and investment, but China also presents the biggest state-based threat to the U.K.’s economic security, the report said.
  • Calling the Indo-Pacific increasingly the geopolitical centre of the world, the government highlighted a planned British aircraft carrier deployment to the region.
  • Britain, the world’s sixth-largest economy, is dwarfed economically and militarily by China.
  • The UK believes, through soft power and strategic alliances, it can help persuade Beijing to play by the rules of a new, more dynamic international system.

Content over Hong Kong

  • The Sino-British ties have tensed since over issues including Beijing’s security crackdown on former British colony Hong Kong.

UK needs India for this juncture

  • UK PM Boris Johnson has called ”India is an increasingly indispensable partner for the United Kingdom.”
  • India’s skilled labour, technological assistance and the vibrant market will open a lot of avenues for Britain which has recently parted ways with the European Union.
  • India is not the world’s largest telecom market; it is also the fastest-growing.
  • According to a study on India’s telecom sector, an increase in telecom subscriptions often touches 20 million a month.
  • India also offers the cheapest data compared at current market exchange rates. As per, the price per GB data in India to be $0.09.
  • Along with the world, India is now steering towards 5G. The UK will need India’s help to marginalize China in the telecom market.

What else?

  • The report categorised India as “an international actor of growing importance”
  • Earlier the British government has approached Washington about a “D10” club of democratic partners, based on G7 plus Australia, South Korea and India.

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