Posted on February 12, 2019
The Defence Secretary has warned over a “resurgent” Russia and revealed plans to buy two new ships for the Royal Navy. Gavin Williamson also confirmed swarm drones will be purchased for the Royal Air Force.
On the subject of Russia, he linked the country to terror groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS: “Not only are we confronting a state like Russia, an ideological enemy without a state – like Al-Qaeda and Daesh – but the very character of warfare itself is changing.” He also confirmed HMS Queen Elizabeth’s first operational mission will take in the Pacific region, where Beijing has been involved in a dispute over navigation rights and territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Following Brexit, Mr Williamson said Britain should look to reaffirm its role in defence, whilst also looking to build on its relationships with alliances as well as developing new ones. He said Brexit is giving Britain’s its “greatest opportunity” for 50 years: “As we leave the European Union, and the world changing so rapidly, it is up to use to seize the opportunities that Brexit brings. We will build new alliances, rekindle old ones and most importantly make it clear that we are the country that will act when required. We should be the nation that people turn to when the world needs leadership.”
Setting out the changing nature of international relations, Mr Williamson said actions by China and Russia had “blurred” the boundaries between peace and war.