Sunday, June 16, 2024

India may hold naval exercise with France, Germany

India, Germany and France are considering conducting trilateral naval exercises, according to people aware of the matter.

As the environment in the Indo-Pacific turns competitive, the three countries are considering holding the exercises sometime next year.

While India and France have been close defence partners for the last few decades, Germany is a relatively new entrant to the region.

In an interview with Mint, German ambassador Phillipp Ackermann indicated that his country would step up its naval presence in the Indo-Pacific by the end of the year.

Queries to the foreign ministries of the three countries went unanswered at press time.

“I think Indo-Pacific is a catchword that resonates very clearly for us. We will see in the months and years to come that Germany will be more active with its partners, including India. This will certainly not be in a massive way but I think there is no doubt that the Indo-Pacific as an area that is not entirely free of tension will be on our agenda much more than it used to,” said Ackermann.

“We are planning for new ships to come to the Indo-Pacific. The ships will not come in the immediate future but I think over a year’s time we will see something on this,” he added.

European countries have looked at the Indo-Pacific with increased interest in recent years. The economic importance of the region: supply chains that pass through the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean have made it a foreign policy and defence priority for Europe.

Recognising this, France has cemented its traditional place as a military partner for India.

India and France carry out three biennial training exercises—Garuda with Air Force, Varuna with Navy and Shakti with Army.

German frigate FGS Bayern visited Mumbai last year in a sign of Berlin’s interest in securing a closer partnership with the country.

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