French presidential speeches in the Indo-Pacific from 2018 to 2021, structured a vision of France’s role in the region, as both a local actor – with territories in both the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean – and a global power able to propose diplomatic, economic and military cooperation for the Indo-Pacific countries. In 2019, the French Ministry of Armed Forces released France’s Defence Strategy in the Indo-Pacific, a 24 page long document to promote the defence orientations and priorities in the region.
This paper by Nicolas Mazzucchi (French Navy Centre for Strategic Studies (CESM)) highlights how France’s orientation in the Indo-Pacific region is consistent with its global strategy: to act as a balancing power able to promote stability and peace in the context of growing tensions and global re-armament. Mazzucchi argues that France sees its role in the Indo-Pacific as promoting multilateralism and the rule of international law, a challenge that can only be achieved through a global approach combining diplomacy, defence and importantly, cooperation with partners in the region, European and Western allies.
Author: Dr. Nicolas Mazzucchi, Research Director, Navy Centre for Strategic Studies (French MoD); this text only expresses the views of the author and doesn’t commit the French MoD.
This paper is part of a HCSS Europe in the Indo-Pacific Hub (EIPH) paper series. The Europe in the Indo-Pacific Hub paper series is edited by senior strategic, Paul van Hooft. This paper was also edited by PR and Communications Assistant, Alessandra Barrow.