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European Forces Flex Their Indo-Pacific Reach

For decades France served as the European Union’s main representative in the Indo-Pacific, and as the sole member to maintain regional territories, conducting two to three deployments per year.

But in the past two years, the number of allies and partners stretching their ability to launch long-distance, rapid deployments and maintain operational capacity in the area has increased.

Both Germany and the Netherlands first deployed military vessels to the region in 2021 following the EU’s release of its first Indo-Pacific strategy. The Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen deployed for seven months as part of a British carrier strike group led by the aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth. The Dutch also participated in several exercises with Singapore, Japan and the U.S. Navy during that time, as outlined in a March 2023 report from the Hague Center for Strategic Studies think tank.

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[Editor’s Note: This is an eye-opening piece. It clearly shows that even some of the smallest of European nations have solid interests in the region, not the least of which is freedom of navigation.]

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