BLUF

France is stepping up its role in the Indo-Pacific by enhancing ties with allies and participating in military exercises with regional powers such as Australia.

Summary

There are 1.5 million French citizens in the pacific region, most of them in French Polynesia, which includes Tahiti and New Caledonia  (though this could change if New Caledonia eventually votes for independence). France also keeps approximately 7,000 troops in the pacific region. France supports a rules-based global order and freedom of navigation, and the law of the sea.  One of its nuclear attack submarines has recently completed a three month South China Sea (SCS) patrol, and in May 2021, France plans to participate in joint exercises with Japan and the USA. Previously France has participated in exercises with Australia, Malaysia and Vietnam. France aims to exercise freedom of navigation in the South China Sea at least twice a year. France is also strengthening ties with the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (the QUAD) Australia, India, Japan, and the USA. Consider the benefits to Australian security of France being actively involved in the pacific region.