UK could bolster India’s military as Brexit Britain stands up to China’s aggression

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This could lead the country into a crucial alliance with India – which is also getting tougher with the hardline regime in Beijing.

East Asia expert Dr Jagannath Panda said: “The UK’s growing global posture and its willingness to challenge China’s revisionism and efforts to emerge as a territorial colonial power is a strong factor behind the growing closeness between Britain and India.”

That relationship could see Britain supplying logistics to India’s armed forces as combats border aggression by China and Pakistan.

Britain has been touted as the preferred nation to design India’s next aircraft carrier due to the success of the Queen Elizabeth, which will join the Indian navy in war games next year.

Dr Panda, of the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses think tank, said the exercise is significant.

He added: “This is a coalition of understanding between likeminded countries. Britain coming to this region means a broader acknowledgment of the crisis.”

Such co-operation is also a reflection of India’s changing foreign policy – which is rejecting its global neutrality for a “pointed alignment” with friendly democracies.

Dr Panda said: “We’re seeing a policy of moving away from China appeasement which aimed to stay engaged with the country to capitalise on an emerging economy. But this hasn’t given the advantages India sought. So we will go for pointed alignment – countryspecific military alignments with the US, Australia, Japan and, of course, Britain.”

“Chinese influence has brought us together and our commonality, in terms of the region and global affairs, is becoming more important. If the colonial past was once a hindrance, it’s now an advantage.”

Britain may also become an associate member of the Quad – the US, India,Australia and Japan – which seeks to counterbalance Chinese influence in the region.

Dr Panda said: “When you take into account the way Britain is emerging as a global power in the Indo-Pacific, I don’t think it will be too long before it is considered a part of Quad-plus.”

The Chinese quest for control is currently playing out in Hong Kong and one leading pro-democracy campaigner has said international pressure is the only way Beijing could be persuaded to reform.

‘Step up pressure on Beijing’ Simon Cheng confirmed a new “shadow parliament”, of exiled academics, lawyers and others, is being planned following China’s imposition of a draconian national security law in the former colony.

Speaking from his home in London last night, Mr Cheng, 29, said: “The truth is only a change in China’s power structure will work.

“A shadow parliament can increase the international pressure on China, which is the only thing that might force the country to be self-constrained.”

He added: “I’m optimistic about the long term.”

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