UK to hold joint military exercises with US and Japan to boost security and strengthen defence ties

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By Margaretd. Regina

The UK, US and Japan will hold regular trilateral military exercises in the Indo-Pacific from 2025 to boost security in the region and further develop the ability of each country’s armed forces to operate together.

The Indo-Pacific is particularly important for the UK due to growing economic ties with countries in the region, and the UK already conducts various exercises in the area – with HMS Spey and HMS Tamar continuously deployed.

The trilateral exercises will build on previous operations between the three countries – underlining the UK’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific.

Last year, the Prime Minister signed the Atlantic Declaration with US President Joe Biden, and agreed the Hiroshima Accord with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, both of which committed the UK to further increase defence activity with each country – with a particular focus on bolstering collective security and mutual prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said:

In an increasingly volatile world where we can no longer take peace for granted, it’s critical to stand united with our allies and partners in defence of democracy and freedom.

Conducting joint exercises sends a strong message to anyone who would seek to undermine the rules-based international order – our defence relationships are not limited by distance and we stand ready to respond to any threat around the globe.

A safe and stable Indo-Pacific is vital to our collective security, allowing free and unhindered trade and travel, and our world-leading partnerships with Japan and the US further emphasise our commitment to the region.

Next year, Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales will be deployed to the region at the head of a Carrier Strike Group, which will conduct a series of operations and exercises with partners and allies – including a port visit in Japan. It follows the successful deployment of her sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, to the region in 2021.

Further work to boost regional security is taking place between the UK and US via the AUKUS programme, which will see the construction of conventionally-armed nuclear-powered submarines to be delivered to Australia’s navy. The programme is providing a massive boost to the UK’s defence industry, with the Defence Secretary having visited Australia last month where it was confirmed a British business will partner with an Australian company to build the submarines.

An announcement on Monday confirmed for Pillar Two of the AUKUS programme, which focuses on collaboration around the development of advanced new military technologies, that Australia, the UK, and US will consult with other countries, including Japan, to potentially contribute to the programme.

The UK also works closely with Japan as part of the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP), which, along with Italy, will deliver a next-generation fighter jet to enter service from 2035 in a significant capability boost for all countries involved.

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