On July 6, a British carrier strike group passed through the Suez Canal, heading to the South China Sea and the Western Pacific Ocean for the first time since 1997. The last carrier deployment to the region marked a decline in British Indo-Pacific presence, as the task group visited Hong Kong prior to the handover of the former colony to the People’s Republic of China. This deployment, led by the new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, marks a renewed determination to wield British maritime power and influence “east of Suez.” The carrier group’s schedule crucially suggests that Britain intends to venture well into the Indo-Pacific and give substance to its engagement in the region’s security dynamics, without undermining its Euro-Atlantic commitments. It is no coincidence that the first phase of the deployment included an array of NATO exercises, and support to the NATO operation Sea Guardian in the Black Sea,…

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