The British vessel HMS Spey, which recently arrived at the Royal Thai Navy’s port in Sattahip, is here as part of the British government’s Indo-Pacific strategy of forging closer ties between two different regions.
“[Our mission is] to build relationship and friendship throughout the region, particularly with militaries and other navies,” Michael Proudman, Commander in Chief of HMS Spey, told the Bangkok Post.
“We can train and work together to provide maritime security, safeguard the environment on marine biodiversity, humanitarian aid and disaster relief work, or any other important part of my ship’s mission out in the Indo-Pacific region,” he said.
Before arriving in Thailand, the vessel stopped at Yokohama in Japan, Pyeongtaek City in South Korea, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and Sihanoukville in Cambodia.
Mark Gooding, the British Ambassador to Thailand, said the British government sees the importance of building relationships across the Indo-Pacific region because half of the global economy will be driven by this region by 2050.
“On top of that is security. You cannot have global growth without security, particularly security challenges in this region,” he added.
Last year, he said, the British and Thai governments signed an agreement on defence, genomics, education, counter-terrorism and finance. “The arrival of HMS Spey is part of the agreement,” he added.
According to the British government’s document titled “Global Britain in a Competitive Age: The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy”, this region is significant for global security spanning territorial disputes, climate change, nuclear proliferation, non-state threats from terrorism and serious and organised crimes.
The navigation of the ship is part of the UK’s “Indo-Pacific Tilt” that aims to ramp up engagement with the region.
This region has an impact on the UK economy and its goal in supporting an open society, with over 1.7 million British citizens residing here, Mr Gooding said, noting the UK will engage closely with the Indo-Pacific region to ensure its goal of bonding with this region comprehensively, while protecting the UK’s interests.