This is also another reason that the Soviets, Chinese and Germans patrol the open seas and hunt pirates that articles won’t normally mention. The primary goal is not the pirate hunting itself. Aside from “maritime trade” routes, the primary goal can also be territorial claim and control of strategic waterways once you establish a regular patrol routine. Another benefit for these countries is that it’s free training for the military and even weapons testing without having an actual war. The pirates could’ve have been hunted down in their own country or a war between nations would have happened by now should they be an actual threat.
These militarization plans are certainly not a reaction merely to considerations of how to combat more effectively piracy off the coast of Somalia, but to geostrategic considerations as well. For example, last year Volker Perthes, Director of SWP, pointed out that the “interests” behind the countries’ sending their naval vessels to the Horn of Africa are not “limited to the war on piracy.” Perthes explains that, over the past few years, the importance of the Indian Ocean, where piracy is being fought in its western sector, has enormously grown. “One third of the world’s maritime trade” crosses this route, with the trend rising rapidly. Particularly East Asian countries, especially China, are making large infrastructure investments in the bordering countries – port facilities or transportation means -, which are “also elements of the geostrategic competition.” It is, after all, “it goes without saying” that China and even India have “an interest in protecting their maritime links.” Even though the United States “will remain the strongest maritime power in the Indian Ocean, for the foreseeable future,” it will soon “no longer be the sole maritime power.” Perthes warns that “the new momentum in the greater region of the Indian Ocean” should not be neglected and one must also be involved.
Full article: With Submarines against Pirates (German Foreign Policy)