Britain will establish its first permanent military base in the Middle East since it formally withdrew from the region in 1971.
A deal signed at the Manama Dialogue event hosted by the IISS in Bahrain this weekend will see the Royal Navy get a £15m base of its own in the Gulf.
The arrangement will improve onshore facilities at the Bahrain Defence Force Mina Salman Port in Bahrain, the UK is planning to bolster the existing facilities at the Port in order to provide the Royal Navy with a forward operating base and a place to plan, store equipment for naval operations and accommodate Royal Navy personnel.
The base is expected to be able to host the Queen Elizabeth class and Type 45 destroyers as well as frigates and minehunters.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the base was an “expansion of the Royal Navy’s footprint” and would “reinforce stability” in the Gulf and the UK.
The UK currently has four mine hunters permanently based at the Mina Salman Port, but there are reportedly plans to increase the number of warships sent to the region.
Bahrain’s foreign minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa said:
“Bahrain looks forward to the early implementation of today’s arrangement and to continuing to work with the UK and other partners to address threats to regional security.”
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who signed the deal. He said:
“The expansion of Britain’s footprint builds upon our 30-year track record of Gulf patrols and is just one example of our growing partnership with Gulf partners to tackle shared strategic and regional threats.”