Wilhelmshaven (dpa) – Federal Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has adopted the frigate “Bavaria” on a politically sensitive voyage in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
A seven-month training trip in the sea area between the Horn of Africa, Australia and Japan awaits the 232 soldiers on board, the navy announced.
Before leaving the naval base in Wilhelmshaven on Monday, the CDU politician thanked the crew. “Our commitment to the Indo-Pacific does not mean being against anything or anyone, but standing up for something together,” she said. According to the Federal Ministry of Defense, it is about acting jointly with allies and about solving possible conflicts peacefully and in partnership.
For the first time in about 20 years, a Bundeswehr frigate will cross the Indo-Pacific, Kramp-Karrenbauer said. “The message is clear: we are flying the flag for our values and interests, together with our partners and allies.”
Help shape the future
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) also said in Berlin that Germany wants to work with partners to ensure compliance with international law and strengthen security in the Indo-Pacific region. The journey of the “Bayern” contributes to this. The international order of the future is decided in that region.
“We want to help shape this and take responsibility for maintaining the rules-based international order,” Maas continues. Germany is participating in the monitoring of UN sanctions against North Korea and is expanding partnerships and engagement in the region. The Left Party criticized the journey of the “Bayern”.
In terms of security policy, the federal government recently pointed to China’s increasingly dominant appearance. Germany therefore wants to work closely with Japan in particular. However, the frigate’s voyage must not take place in confrontation with China. A Chinese frigate last visited the Kielweek in 2018. The route that ‘Bayern’ published on Monday also includes a stopover in the Chinese port city of Shanghai.
Reading sets go with you on a journey
Before Kramp-Karrenbauer said goodbye on the 140 meter long “Bayern”, Kramp-Karrenbauer presented a reading set for missionary families in Wilhelmshaven. It is intended to support members of the German Armed Forces and their families in creating closeness through storytelling, even during longer missions abroad.
A reader stays at home with the child, a folder is used with the parent. Soldiers should be able to read a story to their child over the phone or video call. Effective immediately, mothers and fathers who participate in Bundeswehr missions abroad will receive one of the 8,000 reading sets.
As a patron, Kramp-Karrenbauer launched the reading sets together with the Reading Foundation. “When soldiers (…) read to their children under harsh conditions, it is a textbook example of how other parts of society can do it just as well,” says Jörg Maas, General Director of the Reading Foundation.