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One year of the German Government policy guidelines on the Indo‑Pacific region: Taking stock

13.09.2021 - Article

In September 2020, the German Government adopted its policy guidelines on the Indo‑Pacific with the objective of strengthening Germany’s role in the Indo‑Pacific in the long term.

German Government policy guidelines on the Indo-Pacific region
German Government policy guidelines on the Indo-Pacific region© AA

 Strategic partnerships and Germany’s foreign and security policy presence in the region have been expanded on this basis.

The German Government adopted its policy guidelines on the Indo‑Pacific region on 2 September 2020, thereby establishing a new framework for Germany’s Indo‑Pacific policy. The strategy is based on the realisation that the region has gained considerably in importance in recent years. In view of close ties, stability there is important to Germany’s security and prosperity. Cooperation with the region has been therefore advanced in a wide range of areas over the past year. Moreover, Germany has been actively committed to ensuring that Indo‑Pacific policy becomes a stronger focus also at European level, including with the formulation of a dedicated Indo‑Pacific strategy. The EU plans to issue a Joint Communication on its Indo‑Pacific strategy  mid-September.

Strengthening strategic and security policy partnerships

One important aim of Germany’s strategy is to strengthen structures of international cooperation – in particular with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with which Germany would like to cooperate more closely in the future. During Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, EU‑ASEAN relations were upgraded to the level of a strategic partnership in December 2020. Bilateral relations with Australia were also expanded to become a strategic partnership. Moreover, security and foreign policy consultations took place with Australia and Japan. The frigate Bayern is currently on a patrol and training mission, including in the Indo‑Pacific region, as an active contribution to strengthening the international order. Germany acceded to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) in August 2021 with a view to improving the security of maritime routes. With the creation of a Regional German Information Centre, Germany’s public communications in the region has also been strengthened.

Cooperation in tackling human‑induced climate change

One of the biggest challenges facing the world, particularly in the Indo‑Pacific region, is the fight against climate change and marine pollution. The German Government intends to find solutions to this together with the countries of the Indo‑Pacific and is therefore supporting projects, including within the framework of the International Climate Initiative. Another key element is the global energy transition. The South East Asia Energy Transition Partnership was launched at the end of 2020. Moreover, the energy transition in the region and projects to improve energy efficiency are being promoted. This year, Germany will also accede to the International Solar Alliance with a view to strengthening the expansion of solar energy at the multilateral Level.

Diversifying and strengthening economic ties

We are also working to expand our economic relations , for example with new EU free trade agreements with additional countries in the Indo‑Pacific. Intensive negotiations are currently being held with Australia and New Zealand with the objective of reaching swift conclusions. Negotiations with further partners such as Indonesia and India are also ongoing. Moreover, Germany has driven forward the EU Strategy on Connecting Europe and Asia, which was expanded into a global strategy in July 2021. A dedicated EU‑India Connectivity Partnership has been concluded. Progress has been made also in the area of tangible cooperation. After over five years of negotiations, the EU and ASEAN reached agreement on a Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement in June 2021. 

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