UK to participate in long-term exercises in Indo-Pacific


The Royal Air Force (RAF) has engaged in multiple military exercises and has announced that it will train with several Indo-Pacific countries, including Australia, Japan and South Korea, as part of the UK’s military exercises through December. The trend toward the region continues.

The RAF’s four Typhoon fighters and one Voyager air-to-air tanker moved to Australia to participate in Exercise Pitch Black in Darwin, along with 100 other aircraft and 2,500 personnel from 17 countries.

The expanded RAF deployment in the region comes as the Royal Navy celebrates one year of permanent presence in the region with HMS Spey and Tamar.

Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace said the long-term presence of the RAF in the region demonstrates the UK’s commitment to maintaining its historic ties with the region.

“Security and stability across the Indo-Pacific remains our top priority, and with the Pitch Black exercise and the continued presence of the Royal Navy in the Pacific, we have demonstrated our commitment and shared responsibility across the region and strengthened our relationship with India. Close ties can be further strengthened: friends and allies,” he said.

The increased engagement from the UK comes after the UK government identified the Indo-Pacific region as critical to the UK’s economy, security and global ambitions to support an open society.

An increase in British military involvement for this reason comes after former Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced In its July 2021 policy paper, the UK Government’s vision for the UK is to see India as the European partner with the broadest and most integrated presence supporting mutually beneficial trade, security and value sharing. He said that it is to be deeply involved in the Pacific. , by 2030.

“We will seek deeper engagement in the Indo-Pacific to strengthen diplomatic and trade ties and support shared prosperity and regional stability,” the paper said.

Europe is more actively engaged in the region to counter China

France and Germany are participating in military exercises in the region, and the UK is not the only European power to be more actively involved in the Indo-Pacific.

Moreover, NATO has said it is seeking to increase its presence in the region to counter an increasingly aggressive China in the region. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced in April that NATO would step up its engagement in the region to counter ongoing aggression and militarization from Beijing.

“We have seen that China is unwilling to condemn Russia’s aggression, and Beijing has joined Moscow in questioning the nation’s right to choose its own path. “This is a serious challenge for all of us, and it becomes even more important that we stand together to defend our values.”

Meanwhile, France recently demonstrated its ability to respond rapidly to conflicts in the Indo-Pacific with a French Air Force contingent traveling from Paris to New Caledonia in just 72 hours and over 16,600 kilometers (10,315 miles), demonstrating France’s capabilities. demonstrated. Engage promptly in any possible conflict in the Pacific.

According to Major General Stephane Groen, the French Chief of Staff, “The fact that we intend to carry out such air power projections in the Pacific exemplifies France’s determination to ensure the protection of its territorial sovereignty. It is said thatCommander, Air Operations Command and Training, Aerospace Forces, Nikkei Asia report.

Michihito Tsuruoka, an associate professor of international security and European politics at Keio University in Japan, said re-engagement in the region was a good strategy for the European powers.

In a 2021 Diplomat article, he said that if other allies focused on different threats and challenges in different arenas of conflict, it could lead to a “broader perception gap.” He said it would be bigger and “make it harder to work with.” Together on broader issues like China and Russia. ”

“Geographical distance can no longer be a shield for Europe to protect itself from the consequences of China’s actions,” Tsuruoka said.

Victoria Kelly-Clark


Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australia-based reporter focusing on the national politics and geopolitical environment in the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and Central Asia.