Carrier Strike Group Deployment - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:01 pm on 28 April 2021.

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Photo of Lord Boyce Lord Boyce Crossbench 7:01, 28 April 2021

My Lords, as a submariner I echo the opening part of the Statement and its sentiments regarding condolences to the Indonesian navy and the families of the ship’s company of the submarine KRI Nanggala following its loss. I am sure your Lordships share these sentiments. Considerable fundraising efforts are well under way within the UK submarine community, aimed at supporting the bereaved families of the 53 fellow submariners lost.

Regarding the main part of the Statement, I welcome the very good lay down of what a carrier strike group can provide strategically, operationally and tactically. In the context of the strike group’s deployment to the Indo-Pacific, it is good to see recognition of the need to exert our legal right to freedom of navigation, especially in the South China Sea, and the opportunity that will be taken to re-energise our partnerships and alliances in the region, particularly with the FPDA.

The Statement very wisely does not give the carrier strike group’s detailed itinerary, thus rightly preserving the sovereign choice of options provided by a maritime force through its ability to poise on the high seas and come and go at a time of its choosing, and its range and flexibility of manoeuvre and capabilities, hard and soft. However, does the Minister agree that it would be sensible to look for an opportunity to establish a maritime relationship with the United States, India, Japan and Australia through the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, the Quad?