Australia’s largest ever defence engagement with Sri Lanka is set to unfold this month, Acting Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Jon Philp said today.
He said that from 23-29 March, a Joint Task Group comprising Australian naval, army and air force assets and personnel will visit Sri Lanka as part of the Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019 (IPE-19) multinational visit.
The Joint Task Group will comprise HMA Ships Canberra, Newcastle, Parramatta and Success as well as Australian Army force elements and other support personnel drawn from Navy, Army and Air Force.
During IPE 19, Australian ships will undertake port visits in Colombo and Trincomalee, and Australian Air Force assets will visit Mattala.
More than 1,000 Australian personnel are involved in IPE 19. There will be a range of activities undertaken with the Sri Lankan armed services in Sri Lanka and the surrounding waters.
“This is a valuable opportunity for both countries to improve cooperation and familiarity with oneanother’s Defence Forces and explore opportunities to further promote regional stability,” Jon Philp said.
After departing Sri Lanka, IPE19 ships and assets will visit other regional partners such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Group Captain Sean Unwin, Defence Advisor, Australian High Commission said that Australia-Sri Lanka defence relationship has grown steadily since 2015 with a strong focus on education and training, supporting Whole-of-Government counter-people smuggling efforts and maintaining a rules-based order in the Indian Ocean.
He said the Indo Pacific Endeavour is designed to promote security and stability in Australia’s near region through bilateral and multilateral engagement, training and capacity building.
Group Captain Sean Unwin said Australia is committed to developing strong and positive defence relations with regional nations through dialogue and practical activities. (Colombo Gazette)