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France’s “air diplomacy” in Asia-Pacific

A French army Rafale fighter jet parked on the tarmac at Paya Lebar Air Base in Singapore on September 15. ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP

ANALYSIS – Paris is beefing up its projection capacity in this region in full geopolitical turmoil.

Special Envoy to Singapore

In single file on the tarmac, the anthracite F15s of the Singaporean Air Force and the Rafale (1) struck with the tricolor cockade, tear themselves away above the luxuriant vegetation surrounding the barbed wire of the Paya military base Lebar.

Barely lifted off in the equatorial dawn, the fighters begin a turn on the wing facing nearby Malaysia to spin towards the South China Sea, flying over the myriad tankers and pot-bellied container ships clustering offshore. from Singapore, the hub of world trade, to the Strait of Malacca. Offshore, French and Singaporeans cut the sky in two, to engage in close combat maneuvers, “dogfight” (dog fight) as the pilots call it, gauging themselves above this disputed sea, 90% claimed by China. No images will leak from this footage at the request of the city-state’s Ministry of Defense, which is walking a tightrope to maintain its good…

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