December 1, 2021

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After the submarine crisis, France seeks its place in the Indo-Pacific region

Then “ Blow on the back Cards have been modified for Australia and the new alliance in Canberra, Washington, London and the Indo-Pacific region. What is the place and role of Paris in this highly strategic region?

Then Slapped from Australia, France wants to return to the saddle. Canberra violated the mega agreement on the purchase of submarines on September 15 and the announcement of the Aukus Strategic Alliance between Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom was a severe blow. Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Trian did not hide it, he even spoke. Blow on the back From his associates.

In fact, beyond the industrial implications, this twist thwarts French aspirations in the Indo-Pacific region. This axis stretches from Los Angeles to Mombasa, Kenya », As described by geopolitical expert Sandrine Teyssonneyre, contributor to a specialized site called Asialist. Today, it is home to 60% of the population and accounts for two-thirds of the world’s GDP. Here too the biggest security issues have accumulated. The Australian Declaration changes the geopolitical context of a region, and its strategic importance has grown steadily in recent years. “ Suddenly, the French space was sidelined », References Sandrine Teyssonneyre. She wants it as evidence Map published Economist A few days after the Australian announcement. ” If you look at it, we see the vertical alignment from Japan to Australia, which includes Indonesia, part of Southeast Asia, the China Sea and India, which disappears from the menu to France.

However, beyond its historical contacts with its former Asian colonies, France is often interested in pointing out: A “ Sovereign Nation In the Indo-Pacific region, Thanks to its seven foreign territories (Reunion, Mayotte, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna or Clipperton, Scattered Islands and the French Southern and Antarctic lands) where 1.6 million natives. He recalled the territories that make it up and the second largest maritime zone in the world. Not to mention that approximately 7,000 troops are permanently stationed in the area.

France, AUKUS and the Indo-Pacific. © RFI

Multiply and deepen relationships

So it is necessary to count it. So, in the aftermath of the crisis created by the Australian declaration, Paris is working to show that it is continuing in the game, amplifying signs of reconciliation in the direction of countries in the region. For example, at the G20 summit in Rome on October 30, Emmanuel Macron appeared with Indonesian envoy Joko Widodo. French President bilateral “ Decided to work in a truly strengthened strategic partnership in the Indo-Pacific region “, Mentioning this partnership” In particular, it will focus on climate change, support for employment and growth in Indonesia, and the post-Govt recovery. .


A meeting between the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and the President of France was scheduled for that day. Both countries, Elysee pointed out, ” A common option in the Indo-Pacific strategy to go further in its bilateral, regional and international aspects “They are the French president.” Principles that should guide our actions in the Indo-Pacific region: He noted the great integration between France and India in hope, freedom and unity. . Clarify it further “ France initially defined its Indo-Pacific strategy with India in 2018 .


The same rhetoric with South Korean President Moon Jae-in is still in the G20. Elysee notes: ” They agreed to work together to transform the Indo-Pacific region into a region of stability and prosperity, and to uphold democratic values ​​and the principles of sovereignty and freedom. .

Read more: Indo-Pacific: A new sphere of influence to face China?

Diplomatic efforts are expected to continue since the French prime minister received his Vietnamese prime minister on an official visit from November 3 to 5. The two heads of government have their ” Commitment to deepen the strategic partnership that ended in 2013 »Refers to Élysée’s message. Who says Jean Castex and Bammin Chin agree? ” Intensify high-level exchanges and communications and initiate in-depth work aimed at a new phase of Franco-Vietnamese cooperation in areas such as satellites, as well as building other high-tech projects of a strategic nature to enhance their partnership .

Diversification option for France, regional countries

A ” Emission “What testifies” We need to diversify and deepen our cooperation in the region, and the desire to make existing partnerships more visible. Ph Analyzes Delphine Alles, Professor of Political Science at Inalco. And don’t just rely on big countries (Japan, Australia, etc.). He recalled that France has long-standing close ties with India and Indonesia, which has purchased about forty Rafale aircraft, including security cooperation with India, which has a strategic partnership since 2011.

There may also be an awareness that strengthening bilateral cooperation with key countries is first and foremost necessary to succeed in intensifying cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). This is the case with Indonesia, which has spurred the organization’s Indo – Pacific strategy.

But France is not the only country interested in diversifying its partnerships. As the expert points out, the Axis Alliance ” It also creates a need for states in the region not to put all their eggs in one basket “Be autonomous, that is, keep Beijing in the Gulf without coming under Washington’s control. These various meetings and declarations are a way for them.” Beat while the iron is still hot Says Dolphin Alles. ⁇ Increase cooperation so that the bond does not become entangled in bipartisanship. It is a new interpretation of the non-aligned tradition in the region in which it was born. , She explains.

Faced with rising tensions, “France may have a place to occupy”

The strong point against the fear of another kind of Cold War between the two superpowers, China and the United States? Countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia have not hidden their concerns about Aukus, while Chinese diplomatic spokesman Zhao Lijan said, “This cooperation between the United States, Great Britain and Australia’s nuclear submarines severely undermines regional peace and stability. , Faced militarism over the region. France may be a place to occupy Rine, says Sandrine Teyssonneyre. With this Hockney game, France may have the opportunity to redefine its position in the region. ” Because the question is, apart from the issues of alliances and diplomatic balance, and against whom and with whom to work? Do we sell weapons or work in the soft power, education, science sectors, economic growth, green and blue economies? What role does France want to play in this fast-growing region? To a geopolitical expert, we ” A moment of truth “And” France may be at a turning point . ⁇ While maintaining its status as a member of the Security Council as a nuclear power and its involvement in nuclear technology, can France hold talks on non-proliferation? This is another question.

A “ The third way Is this possible? ” Get more information next year. France is set to assume the rotating leadership of the European Union in early 2022 and has stressed that Paris will be the Indo-Pacific priority in its presidency. »References by Jean-Luc Racine, Emeritus Research Director at CNRS and Senior Researcher at the Asia Center. The EU was recently adopted in any caseGeneral policy text on the Indo-Pacific. ⁇ May be identified, To the researcher, Collective awareness of the need to sustain and operate in the Indo-Pacific region.

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