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The German Frigate FGS Bayern Docks In Mumbai For Its Maiden Deployment To Support India A Free And Open Indo-Pacific
The German frigate FGS Bayern (F217) dropped anchor in Mumbai earlier today as a part of its seven-month deployment to the Indo-Pacific region. Germany considers the Indo-Pacific to be the entire region characterised by the Indian and the Pacific Oceans. The visit marks the last stop of the frigate’s deployment, which saw German Naval presence in the region after a decade. Germany and India are advocates of free trade. Also, the chief of the German Navy, Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach, is currently in New Delhi for high level consultations with his Indian Navy.
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The German frigate FGS Bayern (F217) dropped anchor in Mumbai earlier today as a part of its seven-month deployment to the Indo-Pacific region. The visit marks the last stop of the frigate’s deployment, which saw German Naval presence in the region after a decade.
Germany is the second EU country to have an Indo-Pacific policy. Germany announced a new policy for the Indo Pacific (IP) on 1 September 2020. The German policy aims to promote an EU Indo-Pacific strategy of which it will be a part. Germany maintains a clusters of modern and technologically advanced fleet of warships. In total, the German Navy (Deutsche Marine) has 80 vessels, including nine frigates, five corvettes, two minesweepers, ten minehunters, six submarines, 14 patrol vessels amongst others.
Cabinet Minister of Maharashtra, Aaditya Thackeray and the German Ambassador to India, Walter J. Lindner received the warship on the Mumbai docks. Also present were Captain Abraham Samuel, Commanding Officer of INS Tarkash, which is the Host Ship and Captain Anand N Bhat, Command Foreign Liaison Officer, HQ Western Naval Command. All Covid safety protocols were followed and the whole crew, led by Commander Tilo Kalski, underwent a covid test administered by the Indian authorities upon arrival. The commander shall be addressing a joint press briefing with the German Ambassador tomorrow.
The frigate has been in the Indo-pacific region since August last year on a patrol and training mission and has made port of calls in various countries of the region. The mission is a direct and tangible outcome of the German Indo-Pacific Guidelines, in line with the new EU Indo-Pacific strategy and signals the emerging significance of the region for Europe and Germany. Germany and the European Union are actively engaged to uphold the principle of free navigation and the rules-based international order. Germany has vital interests in the Indo-Pacific, a region that grows in significance, politically and economically.
Germany and India are advocates of free trade. Another important part of the vessel’s mandate was also to provide support to international maritime security missions, like Operation Sea Guardian in the Mediterranean Sea and ATLANTA in the Arabian Sea.
The ship also helped enforce the UN administered arms embargo against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea prior to its journey through the South China Sea. It also participated in joint naval exercises with partners such as India, Australia and Japan. Before setting sail back to home, the ship called on the Mumbai port and will conduct a passing exercise with the Indian navy. Also, the chief of the German Navy, Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach, is currently in New Delhi for high level consultations with his Indian Counterparts. Regular consultations about questions of security policy between Germany and India underline our close partnership.
German Ambassador to India, Walter J. Lindner, said, “Germany recognizes a significant shift of the world’s political and economic center towards the Indo-Pacific. India is a key player in the region, and our strategic partner and long-standing friend.”
He further adds, “The message we want to promote is that of free navigation, maintenance of a rules-based international order, and peaceful seas for flourishing trade. We are glad we have a close partner in India, which shares these goals.”
The maritime call also represents the importance of free and peaceful trade to both countries, and the importance of the sea routes in the Indo-pacific to world trade. The Indo-pacific takes up more than twenty percent of German trade. India and Germany share the responsibility to maintain and support stability, prosperity, and freedom in the neighborhood. A free, open, and peaceful Indo-Pacific is in the best interests of India as well as Europe.