Britain has opened a permanent military base in Bahrain in an attempt to boost its role as a “major player” in the Middle East. The £40m UK Naval Support facility at Mina Salman will be staffed by up to 500 soldiers, sailors and airmen.
It is 47 years since Britain left its original HMS Juffair base in Bahrain following the country’s declaration of independence.
The new base will support the operation of bigger ships in the Persian Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Iran, including the new aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.
“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,” said defence secretary Gavin Williamson.
“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.”