While French interests in Asia Pacific appear threatened by the rise in power of local actors, the Air and Space Force is reviewing its regional strategy and fully exploiting the Rafale card in its influence policy. .
France, power of the Indo-Pacific
A vast geopolitical region encompassing the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the Indo-Pacific is an immense maritime space of 233 million km2. For the France, this zone represents singular attributes of power. Through the exercise of sovereignty in the French communities in the area (CFIP(1)), 93% of the 11 million km2 of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) are located in the region. It is therefore legitimately the marine element which prevails in the collective unconscious when we talk about the French Indo-Pacific space. However, the air environment is also a fundamental component of French multidimensional power in this region. Lhe capacity for permanent projection of military air assets, international aeronautical partnerships, civil and military export markets, and international cooperation of air forces are all key sectors that the State seeks to promote within the framework of the strategy Indo-Pacific.
In this regard, the Air and Space Force (AAE) fully contributes to the assertion of French power in the Indo-Pacific. Given the significant geographical distances between the mainland and the French prepositioned forces in the region, it is the essential tool which conditions numerous military deployments. At a time when France’s international relations and geopolitical context are in full reconfiguration, the Indo-Pacific region appears to be the new strategic space for French air power.