26 April 2021 — Political Concern
[Write to them and tell them what you think!! Mail to: BHCMediaDelhi@fco.gov.uk WB]
“Global Britain in Action”, rejoices the Secretary of State for Defence
Despite the problems facing this country, a government bulletin announces that its ‘Carrier Strike Group’ is to carry out visits to India, Japan, South Korea and Singapore. Its website proudly reminds all and sundry of the diversion of taxpayers’ money to the UK’s defence budget – fifth largest in the world, highest in Europe and second highest in NATO – and of its position as the second largest defence exporter in the world. And, for further information, asks readers to contact Delhi: BHCMediaDelhi@fco.gov.uk
Video of a May UK Carrier Strike Group venture – with ‘support from the US global logistics footprint’ – may be seen here
A few hours ago rational observers were stunned by the news that Britain will deploy UK naval and aerial military firepower to set sail next month in a voyage which – journalist Mason Boycott-Owen comments – will be closely watched by China.
America is still pulling the strings
In January, U.S. and United Kingdom defence officials signed an agreement to merge some military forces to form a combined carrier strike group. Boycott-Owen presents the first operational deployment of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, as a demonstration of Britain using its power to bring other nation’s forces together, relating this development to Iceland becoming the 10th nation to join the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) but he presents the JEF as a Northern European initiative it was actually launched as a NATO initiative in 2014.
He describes the British contingent: “aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, with eight RAF F35B stealth fighter jets on board, will depart for Asia accompanied by six Royal Navy ships, a submarine, 14 naval helicopters and a company of Royal Marines” – but the government website makes it clear that this action is part of the US Carrier Strike Group – a carrier battle group of the United States Navy Strike groups which ‘comprise a principal element of U.S. power projection capability’.
The American Department of Defense states clearly that this a joint venture, enabling the deployment of U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy personnel and equipment, including a detachment of U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II aircraft and the Navy’s USS The Sullivans (DDG-68), as part of a UK-U.S. combined carrier strike group, led by the UK’s aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth.
The Department of Defence states that “Throughout the deployment, the UK will support freedom of passage through vital global trading routes and demonstrate commitment to a recognised international system of norms and behaviours that benefit all countries”.
And UK Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace MP, explained: “The deployment is a symbol of Global Britain in action, and powerfully demonstrates our commitment to India, the Indo-Pacific region, and confronting threats to international order”, ending:
Media queries to:
Sally Hedley, Head of Communications
Press and Communications, British High Commission,
Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110021. Tel: 24192100
Mail to: BHCMediaDelhi@fco.gov.uk