Germany’s focus on Indo-Pacific, sent troops to Australia for the first time

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Army chief Alphonse Maes told Reuters in an interview published on Monday hours before the departure of the first German troops that the region was extremely important for Germany as well as the European Union because of their economic interdependence.

Germany will send troops to Australia for the first time as part of a joint exercise with about 30,000 service members from 12 other countries, underscoring Berlin’s growing focus on the Indo-Pacific amid rising tensions with China in the region. Germany has had a greater military presence in the Indo-Pacific in recent years, even if it means finding a balance between its security and economic interests.

Army chief Alphonse Maes told Reuters in an interview published on Monday hours before the departure of the first German troops that the region was extremely important for Germany as well as the European Union because of their economic interdependence. China is Berlin’s most important trading partner, and 40 percent of Europe’s foreign trade flows through the South China Sea, a waterway that is at the center of territorial disputes in the Indo-Pacific.

In 2021 a German warship sails into the South China Sea for the first time in nearly 20 years. Last year, Berlin sent 13 military aircraft to Australia for joint exercises, the largest peacetime deployment of the air force. Mace said 240 German troops, including 170 paratroopers and 40 marines, would take part in exercise Talisman Saber from July 22 to August 4, the largest bi-annual exercise between Australia and the US.

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