With a wide range of activities and capabilities, France is making contributions to maritime security throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
Paris, Apr.3.– In July, France will take over the chairmanship of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium for 2020-22. The first summit meeting, to be held in La Réunion, was postponed from late June to November. France’s chairmanship is an important symbol of the growing regional integration of French territories in the Indian and Pacific oceans, encouraged by Paris, and of the growing importance of maritime security issues in French strategy in the Indo-Pacific. The main reasons of the latter are threefold.
First, with nearly 2 million nationals living in the region and an EEZ of 9 million square kilometers, the protection of national maritime spaces and their resources constitutes a fundamental mission of the 7,000 French soldiers deployed permanently on five bases (La Réunion, Djibouti, Abu Dhabi, Nouméa, Papeete), notwithstanding naval forces sent on a regular base from metropolitan France.
Second, anxious to contribute to the security of the sea lines of communication (SLOCs) through which passes a third of its foreign trade (excluding intra-EU exchanges), France was at the initiative of the European operation Atalanta to fight against piracy in the Gulf of Aden and its periphery, which has greatly contributed to the reduction of the threat. Drawing on this experience and that drawn from its commitment to the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, it has embarked on a diplomatic-legal process intended to enable it to soon join the ReCAAP agreement.
Third and finally, as recalled by successive defense ministers at the Shangri-La Dialogue, France intends to defend freedom of navigation and overflight in international spaces where it is undermined or threatened, in particular by a regular naval presence ...
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