New Delhi, Jan 17: German frigate Bayern arrived in Sri Lanka on a three-day visit on Saturday. The submarine hunter vessel will remain docked at the Colombo Port till 18 January.
The ship was received by German Ambassador Holger Seubert and senior officials of the Sri Lankan Navy.
Bayern’s visit to Sri Lanka means that the two navies will carry out joint exercises on sea for the first time. With the spread of the Omicron strain, the navies will adhere to Covid guidelines, reports the Sri Lankan media.
India Narrative had reported earlier how Germany was responding to the Chinese show of force in the Indo-Pacific region by sending the Bayern to the region.
Bayern was on deployment in the Indo-Pacific region for the last six months where it participated in patrols and training missions with other navies. The Indo-Pacific waters have become contested with China laying claims to vast areas in the South China Sea (SCS) and in territorial disputes with most countries in south-east Asia and the Pacific.
The frigate had left German shores in August 2021 and is on its way back home by February end.
German Ambassador to Sri Lanka Holger Seubert said: “The fact that a German frigate dropped anchor at Colombo port testifies the outstandingly high quality of Germany’s bilateral relations with Sri Lanka. The visit gives expression to Germany’s determination to broaden its footprint in the Indo-Pacific region.”
The ambassador added: “I contend that Sri Lanka shares our desire to preserve the rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific, including the freedom of navigation.”
Bayern has over 200 sailors and two on-board helicopters besides an array of weapons.
With far-reaching developments happening in the Indo-Pacific region, Germany was one of the first countries to frame an Indo-Pacific and China-related policy – Policy Guidelines for the Indo-Pacific. The European Union (EU) also developed its police regarding the region, as did other European nations.
The European nations have aligned with the US to proactively work on select issues in the vast region to balance out China. They have identified issues like alternate supply chains, battling the coronavirus pandemic, improving trade, working on regional security issues, protecting the climate and also ensuring the freedom of navigation and rule of law.
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