The Indo Pacific

This latest report from UK think tank the Henry Jackson Society looks at the defence of democracy in the Indo-Pacific region.

The UK should “throw its full-weight behind the the establishment of an Indo-Pacific Treaty Organisation”, a new body for the defence of democratic norms in the in the Indo-Pacific region. The Indo-Pacific: An Enlarged Perspective, released today by the Henry Jackson Society, argues that the UK requires an integrated strategy to “preserve the region from authoritarian revisionism”. Its authors argue that as the Indo-Pacific has risen in geopolitical significance, China’s military and economic might has grown with it – posing a challenge to democratic powers. . In particular, the report singles out Taiwan as being under particular strain. It argues that as China views unification with Taiwan as an existential imperative, “Taiwan cannot be regarded as a side issue in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific order”. The report goes on to argues that France and the UK – who have particular strategic links to the region – should engage far more strongly in order to ensure the region’s security in the absence of US action. The naval resources of the UK, are liable to be particularly stretched by the “evolving pattern of Chinese naval presence”. If the UK, is unable to expand the its military and diplomatic resources, it may be forced to withdraw its focus from the Indo-Pacific theatre. It is for this reason, the report argues, that the UK should particularly support mutual defence efforts in the region. In order to achieve this, the report recommends – amongst other international bodies – an Indo-Pacific equivalent to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. While acknowledging that the prospects for such a body might seem remote, it argues “if China’s influence continues to grow, even at a slower pace, such an alliance is likely to grow more and more attractive”. Explaining the need for a military union, it says “robust deterrence is vital for continued security and prosperity” in the region as a revisionist power like China rises. The Henry Jackson Society has previously published two other reports on the Indo-Pacific: Global Britain and the Indo-Pacific and Infrastructure, Ideas, and Strategy in the Indo-Pacific.

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