08 July 2021
Embassy of France-RSIS Panel Webinar on “France as an Indo-Pacific Nation: Security and Multilateralism in Challenging Times”
Thursday, 8 July 2021
His Excellency Marc Abensour, Ambassador of France to Singapore
Rear Admiral Jean-Mathieu Rey, Joint Commander, French Armed Forces in the Asia-Pacific
Distinguished Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen
1. Good day to all of you. Thank you for joining this online event on “France as an Indo-Pacific Nation: Security and Multilateralism in Challenging Times”.
2. The Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean are two huge bodies of water and they are now described as the “Indo-Pacific”. It has enjoyed growing recognition as a geographical and strategic construct in the foreign and security policy discourse.
3. “Indo-Pacific” as a nomenclature is used more frequently today in place of the previously dominant “Asia-Pacific” construct. Scholars are saying “Indo-Pacific” provides a clarity for South Asian inclusion in the future dynamism of Asia and the Pacific.
4. Although each country has its own understanding of what the “Indo-Pacific” actually means, both in terms of the geographical extent and strategic orientation, there is a common denominator: an understanding of the importance of keeping the crucial Sea Lines of Communication free and open as the vast majority of the world’s goods and energy supplies are transported via sea routes that traverse these two oceans.
5. Indo-Pacific has emerged as the arena where major-power rivalry, particularly between the United States and China, is being played out.
6. As major and regional powers publicised their respective narratives of the Indo-Pacific, ASEAN has provided its own dimension to the conversation.
7. In June 2019, ASEAN leaders adopted the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). ASEAN’s own community-building efforts have been reaffirmed through AOIP. The ASEAN outlook strengthens ASEAN’s long-held approach and philosophy. AOIP reiterates the idea of an open and multilateral architecture for the region with ASEAN at its centre. In fact, ASEAN is geographically situated in the centre, between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
8. France was the first member state of the European Union to recognise the need to adopt a specific strategy for the Indo-Pacific. To me, the French Indo-Pacific strategy, unveiled in 2018, has put forth an inclusive approach to the Indo-Pacific to maintain the stability of the region by upholding a multilateral rules-based order. Our speakers from France in this seminar will elaborate on the French Indo-Pacific vision and its significance.
9. As I close, allow me to extend my sincere thanks to the speakers and participants who made time to be here today.
Last updated on 09/07/2021