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French Navy outlines Indo-Pacific commitment

The French Navy's aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (pictured) will soon deploy to the Indian Ocean, according to Admiral Pierre Vandier, chief of staff of the French Navy. (US Navy)

Admiral Pierre Vandier, chief of staff of the French Navy, has outlined France's commitment to expand deployments in the Indo-Pacific in a bid to bolster regional security.

In a briefing at the French embassy in Tokyo on 7 November with selected media including Janes , Adm Vandier said the French Navy is geared towards protecting its regional interests.

He said this effort is supported by deployed assets including 12 naval vessels, six patrol boats, and about 30 aircraft. The French Navy also deploys about 7,000 personnel in the region, he added.

Adm Vandier said such capabilities are intended to protect France's regional interests. More than 90% of France's exclusive economic zone is in the Indo-Pacific โ€“ including territories such as French Polynesia and New Caledonia โ€“ and โ€œabout 1.6 million French people are hereโ€, he said.

France's commitment to the region is also supported by the French Navy's plans for the Jeanne d'Arc task force, said Adm Vandier. Jeanne d'Arc is an annual operation that seeks to familiarise the French Navy in maritime areas that are of strategic interest to France.

Adm Vandier said that the French Navy โ€“ as part of Jeanne d'Arc in 2023 โ€“ will visit South Pacific countries including Australia and Fiji.

He also revealed French Navy plans to send its Aquitaine-class FREMM multimission frigate Lorraine to the North Pacific. He added that the French Navy's aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle will deploy to the Indian Ocean in the coming weeks.

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