The Prime Minister has hit out at Iranian backed militants who are targeting commercial shipping vessels in the Red Sea.
Downing Street has said on Tuesday that they have a “clear eyed” view of Iran’s activities in the Middle East region as Houthis militants based in Yemen are targeting vessels daily with attack drones.
The Houthis rebel group are deliberately targeting ships in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait which means the Gate of Tears,” between Yemen and Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa.
Sunak told MPs at the Liaison Committee on Tuesday afternoon, “As a maritime nation, we’ve always believed very strongly in free and open shipping lanes, that is now being threatened by malign actors.
“And it’s just further evidence that the international picture is both complex and more challenging and previously we, I think may have taken many of these things for granted.
“It’s clear that we can’t and we need to invest in our defence capability and strengthen our alliances to keep everyone at home safe and protect our economy too.”
Sunak added, “This is not about actually the situation in Israel and Gaza.
“This is about malign forces and the Houthis in particular taking advantage of the situation to try and escalate it.
“And that is having a real impact on the global economy and we are playing our part as part of a broader international coalition.”
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said, “These are Iran-backed rebels and we know that Iran is actively seeking to undermine stability in the region.
“We are clear-eyed about that and that’s why we are acting alongside our allies to provide the necessary deterrence to protect commercial shipping.”
As a result of the regional instability, a Royal Navy destroyer is somewhere in the Red Sea region to join international efforts to deter attacks from rebel groups on cargo ships.
Over the weekend HMS Diamond arrived in the region and has joined US an French warship in an American led task force, Operation Prosperity Guardian.
Grant Shapps, the Defence Secretary, said, “These illegal attacks are an unacceptable threat to the global economy, undermining regional security and are threatening to drive up fuel prices.
“This is an international problem that requires an international solution. That is why HMS Diamond has joined Operation Prosperity Guardian.
“This new task force will protect shipping and vital trade routes in the Red Sea, where large amounts of goods and oil transit through to Europe and on to the UK.
“Our Royal Navy personnel are protecting British interests in an increasingly contested part of the world.
“Their valuable contribution to upholding peace and security should not be underestimated and we thank them for their service, especially during this festive period.”