Thousand Australian Defence Forces personnel & four Royal Australian Navy vessels to visit this month

15 March 2019 - 97   - 0

An Australian defence initiative will see nearly a 1000 Australian Defence Forces (ADF) personnel and four Royal Australian Navy vessels visit Sri Lanka this month.

By Asiri Fernando

The initiative called 'Indo-Pacific Endeavour - 19' (IPE-19) is a multilateral defence corporation exercise which brings an ADF joint taskforce to Sri Lanka and several other South and South East Asian nations with the aim of strengthening ties with their militaries.    

Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) and Maritime Surveillance will be key areas which the ADF will engage with their Sri Lankan counterparts during (IPE-19) said John Philip, Acting Australian High Commissioner today at a press conference.

"This is the biggest defence engagement with Sri Lanka to date," said Gp Capt. Sean Unwin, the Australian defence advisor.

He pointed out that a recent Australian defence white paper has identified Sri Lanka as a key partner in the Indian Ocean region and said that the Australia plans to improve its defence relationship with Sri Lanka in the coming years. 

Four vessels, namely HMAS Canberra, HMAS Newcastle, HMAS Perramatta and  HMAS Success will call port in Colombo and Trincomalee from March 23-29.. The 1000+ embarked ADF personnel will visit several military training establishments around the Island and partake in joint maritime surveillance and HADR training exercise with Sri Lankan armed forces and authorities.

 Mr. John Philip noted that the Australia - Sri Lanka defence and security relationships have been growing since 2015. 

Last year, a group of Sri Lanka Navy Marines for the first time embarked on RAN Canbbera to take part in RIMPAC-2018 an exercise off Hawai. 

Acting High Commissioner John Philip (L) and Group Captain Sean Unwin (Defence Advisor)

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