UK shifts policy focus toward India and Pacific post Brexit

LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday will unveil plans to shift Britain’s foreign policy focus toward India and the Pacific as the country adjusts to life after Brexit and a world in which China and Russia present an increasing threat to the nation’s security.

As part of the new policy, Britain is applying for partner status in the Association of South East Asian Nations, and Johnson will travel to India next month for his first major international visit since the U.K. left the European Union. The Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth will be sent to region later this year for its first operational deployment.

The government also says it will make climate change and preserving biodiversity its top priority over the next decade. The new priorities are the result of a year-long review of Britain’s security, defense, international development and foreign policy.

While the government’s advance statement on the policy shift doesn’t mention China and Russia by name, Johnson says Britain must protect ideas like democracy and free speech on the world stage.

“So under this integrated review we will work ever harder, and give ourselves all the tools we need, to coordinate with like-minded democracies in the U.S., in Europe and around the world to protect and advance those ideas and beliefs against those who oppose them,” Johnson wrote Tuesday in the Times of London.