Germany will send forces to Australia in a first, as part of joint exercises with 30,000 military personnel from 12 other countries, highlighting Berlin’s greater attention to the Indo-Pacific in light of the region’s escalating concerns with China.
Germany has increased its military engagement in the Indo-Pacific region recently, balancing its security and commercial goals while doing so.
Hours before the first German troops were scheduled to depart for Australia, Army Chief Alfons Mais told Reuters in an interview that was published on Monday, “It is a region of extremely high importance for us in Germany as well as for the European Union due to the economic interdependencies.”
The first German warship to enter the South China Sea in nearly 20 years sailed there in 2021. The largest deployment of the air force during peacetime was 13 military aircraft that Berlin dispatched to joint drills in Australia last year.
The Talisman Sabre exercise, the largest of the bi-annual drills between Australia and the US will take place from July 22 to August 4. According to Mais, up to 240 German soldiers, including 170 paratroopers and 40 marines, would participate.
Alongside soldiers from nations including Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, France, and the United Kingdom, the Germans will undergo training in jungle combat and landing operations. He said, “We aim to demonstrate that we are reliable and capable partners that contribute to stabilizing the rules-based order in the region.”
Mais made it clear that Germany did not intend to provoke anyone, when he was questioned what the nation intend for China by sending its forces in a first such military act to Australia.
The lieutenant general said, “It generally makes sense to get to know the perspective others have upon the world” and further clarified that the current security concerns were considerably less clear-cut than they were before 1990.
“The Cold War was easy, it was a bi-polar world. Today, we can no longer focus on Europe only…we have to position ourselves much more broadly”, the army chief stressed.
Before continuing on to Japan and Singapore, Mais is expected to visit the German troops stationed in Australia as well as a Rheinmetall facility that assembles Boxer armoured transport vehicles for both armies.
“Japan is a partner that holds a lot of potential for a deepening of our bilateral military cooperation,” he declared. Regarding Talisman Sabre, following orders, German soldiers will go back to Australia for the upcoming training in 2025.