Economy, security, two pillars of Indo-British cooperation in the Indo-Pacific | Latest India News


Economy and security are expected to be the two main pillars of India-UK cooperation in the Indo-Pacific in the context of the global community’s concerted efforts to counter China’s assertion in the region.

With hardly any country able to match China’s deep pockets in terms of cheap funding for its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), India and the UK can team up to provide alternative sources of transparent funding. for infrastructure projects and to deploy new technologies such as 5G, people familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.

In the area of ​​maritime security, the UK plans to have a continued presence in the Western Indian Ocean by deploying two offshore patrol vessels to the region from 2022 and a Coastal Defense Group, based around amphibious vessels. , from 2023, residents said. These deployments will be centered around the British naval base at Duqm in Oman.

The UK also has a military presence at four other locations in and around the Indian Ocean: Kenya, Diego Garcia, Brunei and Singapore.

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More complex naval exercises and joint training are also planned to strengthen interoperability between the navies of the two countries. In June, the United Kingdom assigned a liaison officer to the Indian Navy Information Fusion Center for the Indian Ocean region at Gurugram, a facility that tracks navigation in the region and monitors threats to the security.

In line with an ‘Indo-Pacific tilt’ in its Integrated Defense and Foreign Policy Review released earlier this year, the UK seeks to work with trusted partners such as India and the Association of Nations. Southeast Asia (Asean) both to ensure its presence in the region and to put in place security arrangements to ensure that maritime trade routes remain free and open.

The people named above have said that such maritime security arrangements are essential given the potential hot spots in the Indian Ocean and South China Sea.

These agreements will also build on the work done together by India and the United Kingdom in regions such as the Western Indian Ocean, where the two countries have worked together to fight piracy.

The Aukus alliance forged by the United States, United Kingdom and Australia reflects the commitment of these three countries to ensuring that the seas remain open and secure by providing Australia with nuclear-powered submarines.

Despite the negative fallout from the Aukus alliance due to Australia’s cancellation of a lucrative contract with France for conventional submarines, people noted that there was a deep level of trust between the Kingdom United and France, which is reflected in their cooperation in matters of security, intelligence and the fight against terrorism. .

People said that the Indo-Pacific has become the focus of the international community due to the dynamic growth of trade in the region. At the same time, the region has become more contested and there is a need to secure and keep open maritime trade routes, they said.

Even as countries in the region strive to make supply chains more diverse and resilient, India and the UK can also work together to capitalize on opportunities to deploy trusted technologies in areas such as than 5G, residents said.

In terms of tackling China’s role in infrastructure projects through the BRI, people highlighted the potential for the UK and India to work together on the US Build Back Better World initiative. (B3W), in particular by offering alternative sources of financing to the Indian Ocean. countries in the region.

In this context, they took note of the new India-UK Partnership on Infrastructure Policy and Finance, which will help catalyze private finance flows into India’s National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), and UK plans to invest $ 1.2 billion in green projects and renewable energy in India. .

While there are occasional disagreements between the two sides – such as India’s concerns over the activities of pro-Khalistan elements in the UK and a recent row over Covid-19 vaccine certificates – these are matched by the strong cooperation in key areas such as trade and defense, and senior leaders of the two countries have also contributed to the transformation of bilateral relations, the people said.

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