German Chancellor Angela MerkelREUTERS

Germany has formally announced its Indo-Pacific strategy amidst the Asian continent playing a bigger role in global politics. The importance of the Indo-Pacific zone has increased considerably in both economic and political terms in the last few years. In a policy document named "Germany – Europe – Asia: shaping the 21st century together", the country has now a formal policy towards the Indo-Pacific region.

Second EU nation after France to have a formal strategy

Notably, Germany has become only the second European country after France to formally have a strategy to engage with the Indo-Pacific region. Other European countries are also under the process of devising a similar strategy. As per the document, "shifting geopolitical structures in the Indo-Pacific region will have a direct impact on Germany" given its massive trade & economic relations with the region. Interestingly, for Germany, Indo-Pacific is the second most important export destination after Europe.

Germany aims to 'diversify' its partnership in the Indo-Pacific region

The strategy explicitly aims at "strengthening structures of international cooperation – in particular the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)," with which the country likes to cooperate more closely in the future. The most important objective of this strategy is the goal of "diversification" of partnerships & supply chains beyond China and strengthening relations with other Indo Pacific partners.

south china sea
An artificial island in South China Sea.Reuters

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas commented said, "Our prosperity and our geopolitical influence in the coming decades will depend on how we work together with the countries of the Indo-Pacific region. That, more than anywhere else, is where the shape of the international rules-based order of tomorrow will be decided. We want to help shape that order - so that it is based on rules and international cooperation, not on the law of the strong."

The context & timing of this strategy is also important with the fact that Germany is assuming the Presidency of the European Union. It also highlights a real push towards an EU approach to Indo-Pacific. Perhaps, the relation between the EU and China is an all-time low, it is also one of the major driving force behind Germany's latest strategy.