UK prime minister Boris Johnson told MPs in the House of Commons that the UK going forward will “engage more deeply in the Indo-Pacific”. He also confirmed that he will visit India in April.
Launching the UK’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, which sets out the UK’s vision of its role in the world over the next decade, Johnson singled out India for a mention, describing India as “the world’s biggest democracy”. He said the purpose of his trip was to “strengthen friendship with India”.
The review states that the UK will agree an Enhanced Trade Partnership with India as a stepping stone towards a comprehensive trade deal, and that it will also join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership and Asean as a Dialogue Partner.
“In the decade ahead, the UK will deepen our engagement in the Indo-Pacific, establishing a greater and more persistent presence than any other European country\. The region is a focal point for the negotiation of international laws, rules and norms; and will become more important to UK prosperity over the next decade,” the review states.
“We will pursue deeper engagement in the Indo-Pacific in support of shared prosperity and regional stability, with stronger diplomatic and trading ties. This approach recognises the importance of powers in the region such as China, India and Japan.”
In his speech, Johnson said, “There is no question that China will pose a great challenge for an open society such as ours. But we will also work with China where that is consistent with our values and interests, including building a stronger and positive economic relationship and in addressing climate change.”