Australia is at the heart of UK's Indo-Pacific 'Tilt': Anne-Marie Trevelyan

A recent piece in The Australian asked if the UK would have the “strategic bandwidth” to focus on the Indo-Pacific, in the light of our immense support for Ukraine.

It is a fair challenge. And one that I want to address head-on.

As the UK’s newly appointed Minister for the Indo-Pacific, my answer is that we cannot afford to do anything other than focus on this region.

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It is home to half the world’s people, and half of projected global growth.

Minister of State for the Indo-Pacific Anne-Marie TrevelyanMinister of State for the Indo-Pacific Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State for the Indo-Pacific Anne-Marie Trevelyan

It will have a huge hand to play in the global economy for decades and centuries to come. Particularly through rules-setting alliances such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

It is a glittering hub of innovation, full of natural partners for British scientists, researchers and tech developers.

With the right policies and support, the high growth economies of the Indo Pacific can help lead the world to net zero.

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And with 60 per cent of global shipping passing through the region - security and stability here, has a direct impact in British homes and on British businesses.

In short, this region is critical to the UK - to our economy, our security and to the international rules based system, that both our countries cherish.

Which is why last year, when the UK Government set out our strategic direction for the next decade in our Integrated Review, we committed to pursuing deeper engagement and building stronger relationships and partnerships through an “Indo-Pacific Tilt”.

This approach is one which our new Prime Minister is absolutely committed to.

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Australia is of course one of our closest and most like-minded partners in the region.

In fact I think there are few countries in the world that enjoy such strong historical, political and cultural bonds as we do together

From the dark days of the Second World War to our joint fight against ISIS, we have stood side-by-side, in defence of our shared values and interests. AUKUS is perhaps a continuation of that tradition.

So when it comes to our Indo-Pacific Tilt, Australia is very much a magnetic force for us.

A reliable partner, whose counsel and judgement we respect.

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Over the last couple of years we have been working to cement our Indo Pacific ‘Tilt’ through new agreements, stronger relationships and new institutional bonds.

This demonstrates that we do have the “strategic bandwidth” to focus on the Indo-Pacific, and to continue our support to Ukraine.

Russia’s assault on Ukraine is illegal and unjustifiable. And it simply cannot be allowed to succeed.

If we allow Russia to violate another country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, every single international border becomes less secure.

President Putin underestimated the resolve of Ukrainians.

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The UK alongside Australia and our international partners, stand united against the Russian government’s egregious violation of international law and the UN Charter.

This is an edited version of a speech given by Indo-Pacific Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan to Australia’s National Press Club.