March 23, 2023

indo-pacific: Indo-Pacific: Amid growing Chinese assertiveness, German warship to dock in Mumbai | India News – Times of India

Amid concerns over growing Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific, a German warship will dock in Mumbai later this month. Seen as a “signal” to China, the deployment of frigate Bayern by Germany in the Indo-Pacific followed Berlin’s announcement of its strategy in 2020 to uphold rules-based international order in the region.
The Brandenburg-class frigate recently also entered South China Sea (SCS) waters, becoming the first German warship to do so in 2 decades. Germany became the second European country after France to announce, in September 2020, a new strategy for the Indo-Pacific that, among other things, underlined the significance of UNCLOS and freedom of navigation to ensure there was no disruption to maritime trade routes.
The frigate is expected to dock in Mumbai on January 21. Its actual engagements here will depend though on the Covid lockdown restrictions in place then. Official sources said the option of showcasing the ship virtually is also being considered while it’s in Mumbai.
The frigate was sent to the Indo-Pacific in August last year on a “patrolling and training mission” as Germany sought to shore up its activities in the region. China was reported to have denied the frigate a stopover in Shanghai in September. The presence of Bayern in the Indo-Pacific is seen as a precursor to more such deployments by Germany in the region despite its strong economic ties with China.
After the frigate crossed the SCS last month and docked in Singapore, German navy chief Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schonbach was quoted as saying that Bayern’s deployment was a “signal” to Beijing in the face of “sweeping and unlawful” maritime claims. He also suggested more such military deployments by Germany as he described Bayerns’s mission as “just a teaser”. However, while the frigate docked in many countries in the region since August last year, it didn’t enter the Taiwan Strait.
German authorities also said Bayern’s presence in SCS underscored Germany’s continued commitment to freedom of navigation and “the preservation of the rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific, which is coming under pressure in the South China Sea”.
“The People’s Republic of China, for example, is making far-reaching maritime claims and does not recognise the 2016 UNCLOS arbitration ruling on the Spratly Islands. There have been repeated incidents with the other states bordering the islands,” it said.
According to Germany, a disruption to maritime trade routes in the Indo-Pacific and the supply chains to and from Europe would have serious repercussions for the “prosperity of and supplies to Germany and Europe”.

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