UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to visit India in April to boost UK opportunities in the region and to create a democratic counterweight to China, news agency ANI reported while quoting Reuters. With an aim to expand its influence in the Indo-Pacific region while preserving its strong ties with the United States, the British government will be laying out the country's post-Brexit defence and foreign policy priorities on Tuesday.
Calling the Indo-Pacific "increasingly the geopolitical centre of the world", the government also highlighted a British aircraft deployment to the region ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's previously postponed visit to India in April, reported Reuters.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was supposed to be the chief guest at Republic Day, but due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the UK and the spread of a new strain, he cancelled his visit. Johnson is scheduled to visit India in April.
Relations between the United Kingdom and China have strained over issues such as Hong Kong, COVID-19 pandemic and also denying Huawei an active role in Britain's 5G network. The potential deployment of Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier's is also expected to raise military tensions in the South China Sea.
The report in Reuters also mentioned that Johnson will focus "on the UK's place in the world and the ability to seize the opportunities ahead."
UK to host G7 Summit, COP26 climate conference
Britain will also be holding two influential roles this year: hosting the first post-pandemic G7 summit in June, and the COP26 climate conference in November.
Since completing its exit from the European Union at the end of last year after an acrimonious divorce, Johnson's government has vowed the "Integrated Review" will show Britain still had clout on the world stage and define a new era for the country.
The 100-page document will be closely scrutinised for concrete measures showing how the government will deliver on Johnson's rhetoric at a time when the country is struggling to come to terms with the realities of Brexit and has suffered more deaths than its peers from the COVID-19 pandemic, Reuters reported.
A statement previewing Tuesday's report listed "the importance of UK relationship with the US" alongside the defence of democracy and human rights, and safety from terrorism as fundamental components of the British policy.
Britain is seeking a trade deal with the United States and reassurance over where it sits in President Joe Biden's international priorities.
(With ANI inputs)