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08 September 2023

King's academic uses simulation to inform UK's Indo-Pacific strategy

Professor Alessio Patalano and Dr Walter Ladwig III have played a pivotal role in shaping the parliamentary report "Tilting Horizons: The Integrated Review and the Indo-Pacific". Published by the Foreign Affairs Committee, it marks the culmination of a two-year-long inquiry into the UK's Indo-Pacific engagement policy in line with Britain’s renewed focus on meeting security challenges and taking advantage of opportunities in the region.

Tilt Report

The two academics from the Department of War Studies were among the scholars who contributed their expertise through a series of oral witness evidence sessions that informed the development of the report, known as ‘Tilt’. They shared insights on the desirability of the UK's focus on the Western Indian Ocean and the cultivation of stronger ties with key partners like Japan and Taiwan.

Professor Patalano served as the Specialist Adviser and devised a unique policy simulation where the Foreign Affairs Committee explored the international implications of a hypothetical major crisis in the Indo-Pacific, focusing on escalating tensions across the Strait of Taiwan with specific reference to the UK's role. The scenario was set in 2027 and allowed members of Parliament to test assumptions outlined in the 2021 Integrated Review, the UK’s overarching national security and international strategy that will be implemented by 2025.

“The policy simulation was the first activity of this kind in Parliament. Its findings were crucial to highlight the limits of the current shared understanding of UK interests in the Indo-Pacific and of the ability of the UK government to formulate quick responses to situations of crisis, creating as a result an opportunity for the enquiry to further investigate how to formulate answers to these questions”

Professor Alessio Patalano

In the report, Dr Ladwig III also emphasised the importance of resisting economic coercion by China while recognising its growing military assertiveness. He advised that for the UK to become a more influential player in the Indo-Pacific, it must stand up for its values and uphold a rules-based order, as well as deepen its bilateral relationships with individual Quad members as a starting point. 

“The announcement of a “tilt” to the Indo-Pacific in the 2021 Integrated Review was one of the most notable reorientations of British foreign policy in recent decades. However, the government has not followed up by publicly articulating its long-term aims and objectives in this critical region. The Foreign Affairs Committee’s inquiry and report is a valuable intervention that outlines specific steps the government can take to follow through on its ambition to prioritise the Indo-Pacific on an enduring basis”

Dr Walter Ladwig III

The findings and recommendations highlighted in the report aim to influence the UK's future engagement policy in the Indo-Pacific region, facilitating more informed and effective decision-making.

Read the report here.

In this story

Alessio Patalano 540

Professor of War & Strategy in East Asia


Senior Lecturer in International Relations