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UK Indo-Pacific tilt risks obscuring importance of Middle East

27th April 2021 - 10:00 GMT | by The Clarence

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RN Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll, Sandown-class minehunter HMS Shoreham and the USN mine countermeasures ship USS Dextrous, pictured in March 2020 during the bilateral Mine Countermeasures Exercise 2020 in the Arabian Gulf. (Photo: US Army/Pfc Christopher Ca

The special naval relationship between the UK and US could be jeopardised if the former focuses too much on the Indo-Pacific region by drawing resources away from the strategically important Arabian Gulf.

The UK government recently published its Integrated Review (IR) setting out a vision for the next ten years of national defence and security strategy. The paper was marked by its focus on UK commitments to both NATO and a wider ‘tilt’ towards the Indo-Pacific region.

However, there was little in the IR about the UK commitment to the strategically important Arabian Gulf and in particular the RN presence in Bahrain. In recent years, the facilities in Bahrain have become the largest overseas facility for the RN, comprising four mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs), a permanently based Type 23 frigate and

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