Australia and Sri Lanka to deepen maritime security cooperation

Australia and Sri Lanka’s cooperation on shared maritime security interests in the Indian Ocean is set to rise to a new level with Indo Pacific Endeavour 2019 (IPE19) – which will see the visit to Sri Lanka of an Australian Joint Task Group comprised of Navy, Army and Air Force assets.

Acting High Commissioner Jon Philp said that Australia has always been an Indian Ocean nation.

“With increasing interconnectedness and dynamism in our region, Australia is committed to strengthening cooperation with Sri Lanka to ensure a stable, secure, ruled-based order where all countries benefit from continued growth.”

Over 1,000 personnel on four vessels will arrive in Colombo and Trincomalee on 23 March. Australian and Sri Lankan defence forces will work together on disaster assistance planning, naval manoeuvres and military training activities to improve cooperation, familiarity, and interoperability before the ships depart on 30 March, sailing for India.

IPE19 will be Australia’s largest ever defence engagement with Sri Lanka. It will see the HMAS Canberra and Newcastle dock in Colombo, while the HMA ships Parramatta and Success will dock in Trincomalee. Royal Australian Air Force assets will visit Mattala airport.

As Indo-Pacific nations, Australia and Sri Lanka are working together on the continuation of a rules-based regional order, where the Indian Ocean remains free, open and inclusive.

Philp said: “Australia’s vision for the region is characterised by cooperation, respect for rules and norms, transparency, economic sustainability and mutual respect. Sri Lanka is a partner of choice for Australia as we work together to embed a commitment to international law and unimpeded trade flows.”

After departing Sri Lanka, IPE19 ships and assets will visit other regional partners including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. (Colombo Gazette)

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