The aim of the Commission is to write the blueprint for a new strategic approach to the region, examining questions of trade, diplomacy, politics, defence etc.

 

Policy Exchange, arguably UK’s most forward thinking and influential think tank, has quietly announced via an article by former Canadian PM Stephen Harper in The Telegraph, the launch of their Indo-Pacific Commission (IPC).

The aim of the Commission is to write the blueprint for a new strategic approach to the region, examining questions of trade, diplomacy, politics, defence and security that centre on the Indo-Pacific.

Harper wants to avoid a China centric view, he wants to recognise the opportunities in the “geopolitical triangle stretching from India to Japan and reaching down to Australia”.

In the wake of PM Boris Johnson’s stunning electoral majority in Parliament, the Royal Navy plan to send HMS Queen Elizabeth, UK’s powerful new flagship aircraft carrier to the Pacific in 2021.

This maiden voyage with 2 squadrons of US Marine Corps and Royal Air Force F-35B’s and a suite of helicopters aboard is testimony of Johnson’s vision of the future global Britain and UK’s intentions to counter the existential threat from China.

IPC is the first UK-led effort to assemble a group of diverse and experienced policy-makers to discuss a new approach to the way responsibility for the rules-based order is shared across this strategically important region. The IPC is set up in the tradition of American “Blue Ribbon” panels. In the US a blue ribbon commission is a diverse grouping of exceptional people appointed to report on a matter of importance and controversy.

The IPC states it will:

  •  Help shape a national and international consensus on the nature of the challenges to world stability and prosperity emanating from the Indo-Pacific, and foster new partnerships.
  •  Help position Britain, given its diplomatic experience, to act as a new focus for alliance-building among independent states committed to the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific. As a source of high-level thought and political leadership, it will establish vital new links between key policy-makers in the region.
  •  Strengthen the Special Relationship along the Asia-Pacific axis and increase the relevance of British advice and coordination in this area in Washington D.C.
  •  Provide a public forum for the exchange of views at the highest non-official level.

The IPC’s work will be comprised of targeted events, bringing together key stakeholders across the policy-making establishment and Asia specialists.

  •  Written outputs in the form of policy briefings, backgrounders, and analytical reports will follow covering:
  •  Indo-Pacific trade, economics and technology developments, including novel issues of industrial “decoupling”, IP, digital standards, technology and science policy.
  •  Indo-Pacific domestic and international politics and diplomacy, particularly with regard to community formats and summit mechanisms to reinforce the rules-based international order.
  •  Indo-Pacific defence and security issues, ranging from “hard power” and strategic stability to information/political warfare, cyber security and renewed concerns about biological weapons and health security.