France will modernize and strengthen its military capabilities in Asia-Pacific, despite the crisis of Ukraine, said Sebastien Lecornu, Minister for Armed Forces.
"There are concerns among our partners that the Ukraine crisis could divert us away from the Indo-Pacific and could lead to France going back on its Indo-Pacific commitments, it is not so," the minister stated when he was asked by Shangri-La Dialogue, the Asia-Pacific defense-security forum Shangri-La Dialogue.
He stated that France will "continue to strengthen and modernize its capabilities with the permanent deployment by 2025 of six new ocean patrol boat in the Indo-Pacific," including two this year in the Pacific, and one in New Caledonia, and the other in Polynesia, for "missions de surveillance and sovereignty" in a speech.
France will have two additional patrol boats in the area by 2025, thanks to the replacement of the four existing patrol boats.
"Similarly, five Pacific Falcon [reconnaissance plane] will be replaced with five new, better models.
A sovereignty mission to the Pacific, "Pegase 22," is planned this year with the deployment of Rafale as well as A400M military transport aircraft.
He said that the French forces would continue to take part in multilateral exercises and organize others to demonstrate France's commitment for the stability of the Asia-Pacific. He noted.
The French strategy in the region is not directed against any country, but rather supports multilateral defense agreements.
This is how France wants to join the ADMM defense organisation, which brings together eight major powers in the region including China United and the Association of Southeast Asian Countries (ASEAN).
France's strategy of asserting itself in the Asia Pacific region was shaken by Australia's cancellation of its mega-contract to buy French submarines, and the announcement last year of a strategic alliance. Aukus, a strategic alliance between the United Kingdom, this country and the United States in the face growing tensions with China.
Australia should see a revival in cooperation after Saturday's announcement of a substantial compensation agreement between Canberra, France and the French submarine manufacturer Naval Group.