German warship “Bayern” heads for Indo-Pacific


Washington-German Navy frigate “Bayern” set sail for the Indo-Pacific region on Monday, full of Berlin’s desire to play a small role in the geopolitical conflict between China and the West.

Defense Minister Annegret Kramp Karenbauer said in a statement that he would support freedom of navigation on the high seas, protect an “open society” and support regional partners who share German values. We are aiming for such a development for the first time in almost 20 years.

The six-month mission follows the government’s overall strategy announced almost a year ago to address the challenges of the Indo-Pacific. For Germany, it was accompanied by a delicate dance over Chinese themes. Government leaders believe that they are adversaries in the area of ​​security and allies in other areas, such as the fight against climate change.

Bayern’s departure from Wilhelmshaven will occur after last year’s coronavirus crisis ended its plans. More modern frigate The mission will be implemented in 2020.

According to the German Ministry of Defense, Bayern will support the implementation of UN sanctions against North Korea and support NATO and EU missions Operation Guardian and Operation Atalanta, respectively. As a mission of presence and training, the deployment of ships does not fall under national law requiring parliamentary approval for military operations, a Defense Ministry statement said.

Maps issued by the German Army outline the stops at 12 different ports in progress, including Djibouti, Karachi, Diego Garcia, Perth, Guam, Tokyo and Shanghai. The vessel will cross the South China Sea, a hotspot for China’s territorial disputes.

According to Sebastian Brands, an analyst and guest lecturer at the German Navy School, this deployment will be a heavy burden for the German Navy.

“Operationally, this is an important contribution, but at the cost of destroying the fleet,” he said, significantly changing the ship’s maintenance plans and crew training schedules to enable travel. I needed to. “Political, it’s even more important to both European and regional allies, and to China.”