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Foreign Affairs Committee reviews Indo-Pacific tilt

The Foreign Affairs Committee recently issued its report on the UK Government’s tilt towards the Indo-Pacific, following the region becoming the focus of the government’s foreign policy.

This shift was one of the takeaways from the Integrated Review 2021 which articulated the direction of the UK’s national security and international policy. Emphasising the importance of the region, it stated that the region is “the world’s growth engine: home to half the world’s people; 40% of global GDP” and “the centre of intensifying geopolitical competition with multiple potential flashpoints”.

The tilt has been seen as driven by a desire to make a success story of Brexit, while addressing attendant challenges. The need to find partners to collaborate with on issues of mutual concern coupled with the importance of replacing or securing international trade agreements are reasons that have been raised the UK’s desire for closer cooperation with other countries in the Indo Pacific.

Two years since the review, the committee’s assessment of the tilt is broadly welcoming while warning that this policy shift should not be at the expense of regions like the Middle East which the UK has made commitments to.

It however criticises the Government’s inability to clearly outline the long-term objectives and desired outcomes of the Tilt. This, it claims poses the risk of meaningfully deterring threats to UK sovereignty from aggression from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and hindering the ability of the UK to maximise the opportunities of greater engagement with the Indo-Pacific. Emphasising the apparent “confusion across Whitehall about the Tilt to the Indo-Pacific, stemming from a failure to explain the policy” it calls for all relevant Ministers to be briefed on the higher classification version of the China Strategy. Transnational repression and argues for the UK to further develop existing economic and people-to-people relationships with Indo-Pacific countries.

Produced by Esenam Agubretu, Parliamentary and Regulatory Affairs Manager.