Germany is stepping up its security engagement in the Indo-Pacific region. The presence of the German Air Force sends a message of support to our like-minded partners in the region as well as to the international community, advocating the rules-based international order.
Germany is actively involved in shaping the international order in the Indo-Pacific. The most important goals for the Indo-Pacific area are to preserve the rules-based international order and to bolster multilateralism in a free and open region. The Policy Guidelines for the Indo-Pacific Region, adopted by the Federal Government in September 2020, include an enhanced Bundeswehr commitment to the region: Germany intends to expand and intensify security and defence cooperation with our close partners.
The deployment of the frigate “Bayern” was a first step towards an increased military presence in the Indo-Pacific. From August 2021 to February 2022, the frigate sailed in the maritime area between the Horn of Africa, Australia and Japan on a mission that encompassed diplomatic and security policy-related objectives. It took part in exercises and helped to monitor the United Nations Security Council sanctions against North Korea. Following the navy deployment, it is now the Luftwaffe’s turn to be deployed to the region as part of the Rapid Pacific 2022 project. Six Eurofighters, four A-400M and three A330 MRTTMulti Role Transport Tanker Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft will be deployed to the region via Singapore and take part in two multinational exercises (Pitch Black 22 and Kakadu 22). Following the exercises, there will be short visits to East Asian partners Japan and South Korea and, once more, Singapore. Over the coming years, there will be a more regular Bundeswehr presence in the region.
This increased military presence in the Indo-Pacific follows the progress the area is making in the field of security: The relations of the European Union with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEANAssociation of Southeast Asian Nations, were elevated to the status of a Strategic Partnership during Germany’s EU Council Presidency in 2020. The EU is supporting the development of a regional security architecture under ASEANAssociation of Southeast Asian Nations leadership for the promotion of peaceful mechanisms for conflict resolution.
The bilateral relations between Germany and Australia have been expanded to an Enhanced Strategic Partnership; contacts with Japan in the area of security policy have likewise reached a new level of cooperation. Japan and Germany even signed an Agreement on the Security of Information for the exchange of sensitive government documents. By joining the regional anti-piracy group ReCAAP, Germany contributes to improving maritime security in the Indo-Pacific through the rapid exchange of information on piracy and armed robbery against ships. In addition, the period of assignment will be extended for the liaison officer assigned to the Information Fusion Centre of the Republic of Singapore Navy, where comprehensive maritime situation pictures are created. For the first time, potential projects in Southeast and South Asia were identified for the Federal Government’s Enable & Enhance Initiative that aims to help partner states build capacity in their security sectors.
Germany pursues its military activities side by side with like-minded partners such as Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. Germany’s interest in a free and open Indo-Pacific region built on global standards and international law is shared by its allies in the European Union and NATO.
The EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, published in September 2021, largely coincides with the Federal Government Guidelines. EU member states are among the most important investors in the region. Approximately 60 percent of global GDP (gross domestic product) is generated in the Indo-Pacific region. Freedom of navigation and stability are therefore essential for Europe’s security and prosperity, too.
Given the existing geopolitical rivalries and festering border disputes, however, the Indo-Pacific remains a region at risk of instability. Lately, China has considerably expanded its military activities with regard to Taiwan. The EU and Germany still adhere to the One China policy, but condemn China’s aggressive gestures. For the Federal Government, there can be no doubt that any change to the status quo can only be effected peacefully and amicably. The growing tensions in the region and China’s increasingly aggressive behaviour are observed with concern.
Europe and the Indo-Pacific are highly interconnected. What happens in the Indo-Pacific has important implications for Europe, and vice versa. The region produces 60 percent of global GDP and is the second largest destination of EU exports.Joseph Borrell
NATO, too, focuses more and more on the Indo-Pacific region, since any developments there can have a bearing on Euro-Atlantic security. The intensification of partnerships with Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand helps maintain the rules-based international order. As NATO’s new Strategic Concept states, the deepening of the strategic partnership between China and Russia likewise runs counter to our values and interests. Closer cooperation between NATO and the EU will gain more and more importance in future.
Against the background of these dynamic developments, Germany will continue to work for multilateralism in the Indo-Pacific and foster the dialogue towards peace and security in the region. This includes the Bundeswehr’s military engagement, which will help enhance and intensify cooperation with important partners in the region.