Europe News Desk!! Britain’s diplomatic posts in key Indo-Pacific countries such as India, Pakistan and China have been cut by up to 50 per cent in recent years, according to new government figures. Ties are expected to deepen in the coming decade, The Guardian reports. Despite being recognized as prime places to do business, the staff of embassies and consulates in Pakistan, China and India has been shrinking over the past seven years. According to the report, the number of British-based Foreign Office staff at the Pakistan Embassy and Consulates was between 110 and 119. It has come down to 50-59 with a cut of almost 50 per cent. During the same time frame, the number of British-based Foreign Office staff in India was reduced from 70–79 to 40–49 over the previous seven years.
The figures shared by the Guardian come from Foreign Office minister David Rutley in response to parliamentary questions written by Labor frontbencher Catherine West. The data also showed a reduction in the number of ministerial visits to these countries. The Foreign Office and the Department for International Development undertook 37 ministerial visits to the Indo-Pacific region in 2018, with some countries being visited more than once a year. The Guardian reported that although the number of ministerial visits planned for 2022 was less than a third, it recorded only 12. A Foreign Office spokesperson told the Guardian that these numbers do not give an accurate picture of the UK presence in the Indo-Pacific region. This is due to the US spending its overseas development budget. Citing evidence of the UK’s growing influence in the region, the spokesperson told the Guardian that trade with the Indo-Pacific was set to increase by 16.4 per cent year-on-year from 2021 to the autumn of 2022.
World News Desk!!