24 April 2018

On 19 April 2018, the United Kingdom announced it was establishing diplomatic representation in nine countries: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Grenada, Lesotho, Samoa, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Swaziland, Tonga, and Vanuatu. In an article published on 21 April 2018 by The Sunday Guardian, 2015 Foundation fellow Cleo Paskal argued that India can learn from the UK’s “low-cost, high-impact, niche pivotal geopolitics.” Though it is a keystone of the Indo-Pacific, India has little to no diplomatic representatives in Pacific island countries. In a later article, published on 24 April 2018 in the Lowy Institute’s Interpreter, Paskal further demonstrated how, from an Oceanian perspective, the British Foreign Office’s decision might be a game changer. Australia and New Zealand’s strategic behaviour, or lack thereof, has let the Oceanic region drift towards China, but the UK, “not as blinded by a short-term economic agenda and with a global perspective, can bring a new layer of Oceania analysis to the Five Eyes.” Paskal concluded that the UK’s increased diplomatic presence, by shifting the strategic focus to regional prosperity and security on the Oceanic islands’ own terms, will benefit all – except China.

Cleo Paskal is a 2015 Foundation fellow, an associate fellow at Chatham House (the Royal Institute of International Affairs, London, UK), as well as adjunct faculty in the Department of Geopolitics, Manipal University, India. Read her Sunday Guardian article here and her Interpreter article here.

Cleo Paskal

Ms. Cléo Paskal's expertise lies in the bridging of global issues along geopolitical, geoeconomic and geophysical lines, particularly with regards to global environmental change and security.

2015 Fellows