Navy
Global partnerships

Indo-Pacific Deployment 2024

It is the most important maritime defence diplomacy engagement this year: IPD 24 covers a wide range of multinational naval exercises and international operations. Why displaying the flag of the German Navy in the Indo-Pacific serves international security.

A grey warship at sea

The Indo-Pacific Deployment (IPD) is the German Navy’s most important defence diplomacy and enhanced security cooperation project this year. For seven months, from May to December, Germany’s naval forces show their colours around the world with a task group consisting of two vessels: frigate FGS “Baden-Württemberg” of the Type 125, accompanied by replenishment ship FGS “Frankfurt” am Main”.

This year’s IPD – like the Navy’s previous deployment in 2021 – is intended to once again demonstrate Germany’s commitment to free and secure shipping lanes, a rules-based international order and increased cooperation for maritime security.

A world map.

The Greater Indo-Pacific region includes all maritime areas between the east coast of Africa and the west coast of America as well as the adjoining coastal regions

Bundeswehr

In addition to port visits to strategic partners, the two German vessels will take part in several multinational naval exercises with one or more partner countries. Highlights include the USUnited States-led Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2024 exercise, which will involve approximately two dozen navies.

In addition, “Baden-Württemberg” and “Frankfurt am Main” will, for example, be operationally involved in monitoring the United Nations sanctions against North Korea and will also take part in the EU’s Coordinated Maritime Presence in the northwest of the Indian Ocean.

Current topics of IPD 24

Regionally rooted, globally committed

The security situation in Europe, particularly Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, has also forced the German Navy to re-prioritize national and alliance defence. Therefore, the main geographical focus of the fleet rests on the maritime areas around NATO’s northern flank.

Despite the necessary reorientation towards NATO’s collective defence, Germany’s naval forces are also committed to a global perspective. From a German perspective, these are two sides of the same coin: The German Navy sees itself as “regionally rooted and globally committed”. It is precisely for this reason that it is sending a task group to the Indo-Pacific region. It thus presents itself to be a flexible instrument of German foreign and security policy.

A large grey ship at sea

Enabling a truly global IPD 24: replenishment ship FGS “Frankfurt am Main”

Bundeswehr/Ann-Kathrin Fischer

The global IPD 2024 is a major project of German defence diplomacy: It serves this purpose in particular through close, trust-building cooperation with strategic partners in the Indo-Pacific region, including Canada and the United States, but also with European allies such as France. Many official port visits also offer the opportunity to maintain and deepen growing relationships. In addition, the German Navy’s goal is to improve its operational readiness by training crews and junior officers through demanding international exercises.

The naval units and formations involved

Four units of the German Navy are involved in the IPD 2024: Frigate “Baden-Württemberg” belongs to 4 Frigate Squadron, the replenishment ship “Frankfurt am Main” belongs to the Auxiliaries Squadron. The frigate has also embarked two on-board helicopters from 5 Naval Air Wing and naval infantry from the Sea Battalion.

German interest in global trade and free sea routes

For Germany as a trading nation, free and safe shipping routes are of utmost importance. To ensure this, the country not only engages economically and politically in the Indo-Pacific, but also stands ready with its naval forces to maintain the rules-based international order.

In 2020, with the announcement of its “Policy Guidelines for the Indo-Pacific”, the Federal Government reaffirmed its intention to deepen cooperation with strategic partners in this geopolitically extremely important region. The National Security Strategy of 2023 has confirmed this.

In 2021, the Bundeswehr made its first contribution to this political goal by deploying frigate FGS “Bayern”. The German military engagement in the region then continued: in 2022, the Air Force and in 2023 the Army and the Naval Sea Battalion of the Navy took over the annual Indo-Pacific deployment.

The political background

The Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of Defence provide detailed information on the foreign and security policy background of the Indo-Pacific Deployment.

Indo-Pacific Deployment 2021: Frequently asked Questions

For around six months, from May to December 2024, frigate FGS “Baden-Württemberg” and replenishment ship FGS “Frankfurt am Main” will be traveling westwards around the globe. Here the German Navy’s public affairs team provides answers to frequently asked questions about this extraordinary military sea voyage.

The voyage of frigate “Baden-Württemberg” and replenishment ship “Frankfurt am Main” is formally a so-called foreign training cruise. Above all, this means that the naval vessels and crews will use the time for their own training – especially in cooperation with various partner navies in the Indo-Pacific region. A parliamentary mandate for a proper military operation, which would by German constitutional law have had to be decided by the German Bundestag, is therefore not necessary. The basis for the deployment is therefore a simple decision by the German Federal Government.

The German Navy differentiates between routine visits, informal visits and formal visits. A routine visit usually only means a port stop to refuel and refill other supplies, and possibly also shore leave for crews to relax, especially on weekends. There are no special military diplomatic events planned and the berthing time is relatively short. A pure fuel stop, for example, can only take a few hours.

An informal visit, on the other hand, means that the Navy uses the port stay to maintain closer military interaction with the host country. This means, for example, that groups of visitors from a friendly navy come on board, or that leadership from allies come together for technical discussions. Foreign naval bases are therefore ideal for such informal visits.

The formal visit is the fine art of naval diplomacy. The host country extends an official invitation to do so. The physical presence of a German naval vessel in a foreign port is then tangible evidence of the partnership with Germany. Representatives of Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, for example the respective ambassador, use the port visit of the German naval vessel for their purposes: Receptions on board serve for networking and intercultural exchange.

According to the Federal Ministry of Defence’s 2023 Defence Policy Guidelines, defence diplomacy is a tool of international cooperation and partnership. It includes strengthening security structures of partners and regional organizations, establishing and cultivating bilateral security policy and military relations, as well as arms control policy, confidence- and security-building measures.

In practice, this primarily includes activities through which an exchange between Bundeswehr personnel and foreign representatives takes place. The means of defence diplomacy include, for example, the deployment of exchange officers and military attachés as well as official port visits by naval ships and participation in NATO, EU, OSCEOrganisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe or United Nations committees.

Author: German Navy Press- and Information Centre | write an e-mail

published on: 03/05/2024, last updated: 14/05/2024
location: Rostock 
reading time: 5 minutes

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