The frigate is expected to dock in Mumbai on January 21

Concerned about the growing Chinese presence in the Indo-Pacific Ocean, a German warship will dock in Mumbai later this month. The deployment of German frigate Bayern in the Indo-Pacific region has been seen as a “signal” to China, following the announcement of Berlin’s strategy in 2020 to maintain rule-based international order in the region, a Times of India report said.

The Brandenburg-class frigate recently entered South China Sea (SCS) waters, becoming the first German warship to do so in two decades. In September 2020, Germany was declared the second European country after France, a new strategy for the Indo-Pacific that ensured, among other things, the significance of UNCLOS and freedom of navigation so as not to disrupt maritime trade routes.

The frigate is expected to dock in Mumbai on January 21. Official sources said that the option of actually demonstrating the ship while it was in Mumbai is also being considered, as per the Times of India report.

The frigate was sent to the Indo-Pacific region in August last year on a “patrol and training mission” as Germany sought to strengthen its operations in the region. China has reportedly refused to suspend frigates in Shanghai in September. Despite strong economic ties with China, Bayern’s presence in the Indo-Pacific region is seen as a precursor to further German installations in the region.

The chief of Germany’s navy said earlier in November 2021 that its dispatch of a warship to the Indo-Pacific underscores his country’s concern that freedom of navigation and the rule-based international order are being threatened in the region, an apparent reference to its biggest trading partner, China. The Bayern will travel through the South China Sea, where China is increasingly pressing its territorial claims, to demonstrate its right to freedom of passage.

The frigate left Germany in August as part of the country’s recent shift to the Indo-Pacific region and follows similar moves by other European countries including Britain, France and the Netherlands. Warships from those countries recently conducted joint naval exercises in the East and South China seas.