6 December 2014
Last updated at 03:46
It is believed the Royal Navy base in the Middle East will cost about £6m
The UK is to establish its first permanent military base in the Middle East since it formally withdrew from the region in 1971.
A deal signed in Bahrain this weekend will see the Royal Navy get a £15m base of its own in the Gulf.
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 base will be located at the Mina Salman Port in Bahrain.
The BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner said: “The deal will have its detractors. Bahrain has been heavily criticised for its human rights record in the past and despite some reforms, power remains concentrated in the hands of the ruling family.
“The majority Shia population here complain of discrimination by their Sunni rulers. There will also be some who resent the prospect of western military forces being permanently based here. But Britain has been rotating ships, warplanes and ground troops in and out of the Gulf for decades on a temporary basis.”
He also said that with the ongoing threat of Islamic State (IS) militants may have persuaded Gulf monarchies to be “content to invite British forces to set up on their soil”.
The US military has already got a permanent military presence in the area, and French forces have had a base in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for years.
The UK currently has four ships, known as Mine Hunters, permanently based at the Mina Salman Port, but there are now 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.”
And his sentiments were echoed by UK 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.”