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UK’s Indo-Pacific tilt: Britain’s aircraft carrier to visit India, Japan on maiden deployment

The British Government said that the UK Carrier Strike Group’s “globe-spanning maiden deployment will feature visits to India, Japan, Republic of Korea and Singapore”.

Written by Krishn Kaushik | New Delhi |
April 26, 2021 5:50:32 pm
The Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is towed by tugs as it arrives at Portsmouth Naval base, its new home port, in Portsmouth, Britain August 16, 2017. (REUTERS/Peter Nicholls)

A week after the European Union announced that it will reinforce its strategic focus, presence and actions in the Indo-Pacific with the aim of contributing to the stability, security, prosperity and sustainable development of the region, based on the promotion of democracy, rule of law, human rights and international law, the British Government said on Monday that its “largest concentration of maritime and air power to the UK in a generation will set sail next month, visiting more than 40 countries” including India, as part of its Indo-Pacific tilt.

The British Government said that the UK Carrier Strike Group’s “globe-spanning maiden deployment will feature visits to India, Japan, Republic of Korea and Singapore”.

“The forthcoming deployment will bolster already deep defence partnerships in the region, where the UK is committed to a more enduring regional defence and security presence.” Further, it said that engagement in Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Japan and India “will provide the opportunity for strengthening our security relationships, tightening political ties and supporting our UK exports and International Trade agenda”.

The “formidable size of the UK Carrier Strike Group” will be led by the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. The “28-week deployment” will span 26,000 nautical miles, and the Carrier Strike Group will “conduct engagements with Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Japan and India as part of the UK’s tilt towards the Indo-Pacific region”.

It will undertake over 70 engagements in over 40 nations.

“HMS Queen Elizabeth, the most powerful surface vessel in the Royal Navy’s history, will next month set sail as the flagship of a Carrier Strike Group,” the statement mentioned, and added that it will be joined by destroyers, anti-submarine frigates, and Astute-class submarine armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, along with other vessels.

The carrier’s flight deck will have eight state-of-the-art RAF F-35B Lightning II fast jets, Wildcat maritime attack helicopters, seven Merlin Mk2 anti-submarine helicopters and three Merlin Mk4 commando helicopters. It will also have a company of the Royal Marine Commandos.

The CSG will also include a US Navy destroyer, a frigate from the Netherlands and a squadron of US Marine Corps F-35B jets, which will be fully integrated.

The statement said that CSG21 “will be a truly global deployment, from the North Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific” and Wallace will explain to the British Parliament “how it will help achieve the UK’s goal for deeper engagement in the Indo-Pacific region in support of shared prosperity and regional stability – a stated aim of the Government’s recently published Integrated Review into foreign, defence, security and development policy”.

 

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