Australia’s role as a regional security partner will be highlighted in the coming weeks with the largest regional maritime exercise of its kind beginning last week in the Northern Territory.
Held biennially, Exercise Kakadu is a joint exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Navy and supported by the Royal Australian Air Force. More countries are attending this year than ever before, with 23 ships, 21 aircraft, a submarine and more than 3,000 personnel from 27 nations participating in a range of activities both ashore in Darwin and at sea.
Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne said the importance of Exercise Kakadu could not be understated.
"This premier international exercise will provide invaluable training opportunities for maritime security and surveillance for all involved. Participation by nations from the south-west Pacific, south-east Asia and from the wider Indo-Pacific further strengthens the bonds we enjoy with our close regional partners," he said.
As part of the exercise, Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead will host his counterparts at a Fleet Commanders’ Conference in Darwin.
The high level regional security talks will focus on generating active and effective security and humanitarian partnerships, with all nations emerging more capable, united and focused on safeguarding the region.
"All navies and air forces, whether they are participating directly or observing from ashore, will provide a valuable contribution to the exercise," Minister Pyne said.
Participating nations include Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Cook Islands, Fiji, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, The People’s Republic of China, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, United Arab Emirates, the US and Vietnam.