France's “Indo-Pacific” Strategy: Regional Projection
President Macron talks of France’s ‘Indo-Pacific strategy’ (une stratégie indo-pacifique). This article analyzes French strategic discourse and strategy adopted for the Indo-Pacific by France. It finds that French strategy has three main elements. Firstly it has seeks legitimacy, politically seeking to move from a colonial possessions position to democratic integration with France, and has sought to achieve regional integration and legitimacy of this. Secondly, geographically France has moved up northwards from its possessions in the Southern Indian Ocean and Southern Pacific to active maritime involvement in the northern Indian Ocean, South China Sea and Western Pacific. Thirdly, French strategy is to actively secure security partnerships with other countries in the region. Naval projection is a prominent feature of French strategy, which is a strategy which is significantly driven by China’s maritime expansion across the Indo-Pacific. The article thus seeks to analyze, explain and evaluate the effectiveness of France’s Indo-Pacific strategy.