The British Royal Navy has opened its new Naval Support Facility at Mina Salman port in Bahrain as part of an initiative to bolster its presence in the region.
The facility is intended to serve as the hub for the Royal Navy’s operations in the Gulf, Red Sea and Indian Ocean.
UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Our Armed Forces are the face of ‘global Britain’ and our presence in Bahrain will play a vital role in keeping Britain safe, as well as underpinning security in the Gulf.
“Britain is a major player on the world stage and this new Naval Support Facility will help us tackle the growing threats to our nation, wherever they are across the globe, and protecting our way of life.”
The new operations hub is expected to provide an enduring, self-sufficient operating base that is capable of addressing the needs of any UK warship operating in the region, including the Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carriers, the future flagships HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.
The Naval Support Facility will accommodate more than 300 British military personnel and supporting civilians, providing a major strategic base east of Suez for the UK, as well as its allies and coalition partners.
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UK Joint Forces Command commander general Sir Chris Deverell said: “With the opening of this base, the UK’s presence in Bahrain and the wider Gulf is guaranteed into the future, ensuring Britain’s sustained deployment east of Suez.”
Bahrain has historically been an ally of the British Armed Forces and the two countries have previously worked in collaboration with regards to diplomatic, economic and security matters.