Eastern Eye (UK)



THE UK government made its first major commitment to support UN Security Council reforms and India’s permanent membership within it, as part of a refreshed defence and foreign policy review tabled in parliament on Monday (13).

The Integrated Review Refresh 2023: Responding to a More Contested and Volatile World builds on the 2021 review (IR2021) which had an Indo-Pacific tilt at its heart.

In the review, the UK states that it believes the Indo-Pacific is no longer just a tilt, but a permanent pillar of Britain’s foreign policy, in view of the free trade agreement (FTA) with India.

“Moving beyond IR2021, the UK will support reform of the UN Security Council (UNSC) – and would welcome Brazil, India, Japan and Germany as permanent members,” the review said.

Downing Street said it marked an important policy evolution, just as the Integrated Review Refresh 2023 (IR2023) was tabled in the Commons by foreign secretary James Cleverly.

“On the UN Security Council, this is the first time we have it within a UK policy document and putting it before parliament that we will support UNSC reforms,” prime minister Rishi Sunak’s spokespers­on on foreign affairs said at a Downing Street briefing.

“That is an evolution in the UK’s position. We also say we support permanent African membership.”

On India, IR2023 further commits to building on the bilateral Comprehens­ive Strategic Partnershi­p, implementi­ng the UK-India 2030 Roadmap and supporting India’s G20 presidency.

Advancing negotiatio­ns on a FTA, strengthen­ing the bilateral defence and security partnershi­p and leading the maritime security pillar of India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative are also on the agenda.

“India is very firmly a key priority relationsh­ip for us. We are very clear that we are going to keep developing the 2030 Roadmap and working towards an FTA,” the Downing Street spokespers­on added.

“We have really welcomed the increasing depth of the relationsh­ip over the last couple of years and are clear about developing that as part of our broader posture.”

An additional £20 million funding will be provided by the Foreign, Commonweal­th and Developmen­t Office (FCDO) for the BBC World Service, ensuring it can continue to provide 42 language services around the world and counter disinforma­tion.

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