By Patrick Decloitre, RNZ Pacific French Pacific desk correspondent
French President Emmanuel Macron has defended his Indo-Pacific vision during the traditional New Year’s good wishes ceremony to the French Armed Forces in Paris.
Macron said tensions in the Indo-Pacific zone were a matter for concern because France was an integral part of the Indo-Pacific — both in the Indian and the Pacific oceans.
He recalled the French version of the Indo-Pacific had been masterminded in 2018 and had since been developed in partnership with such key allies as India, Australia, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.
“But we have also consolidated it and, may I say entrenched it, in our own (overseas) territories,” he said, citing New Caledonia as an example of French army presence to defend France’s sovereignty and “the capacity for our air force to deploy (from mainland France) to Oceania within 48 hours”.
He also praised the recent South Pacific Defence Ministers’ Meeting held in Nouméa last month when “France was the inviting power”.
He said Paris was able to strike “strategic partnerships” with neighbouring armed forces.
“The year 2024 will see us maintain without fail the protection of our overseas territories,” he told the troops.
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