The sixth iteration of Exercise Hari’i Hamutuk has begun after the arrival of Australian Army engineers in Timor-Leste.
The multilateral exercise focuses on exchanging trade skills and supporting the growth of Timor-Leste's defence capability.
From 19 August to 20 September, engineers from four participating nations will undertake construction and maintenance projects in Dili, and Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the exercise is a valuable opportunity to enhance regional defence partnerships at a time of historical significance for Australia and our Timorese neighbours.
“This years’ Hari’i Hamutuk coincides with the 20th anniversary commemorations for International Force East Timor (INTERFET) – a testament to our close history of military co-operation and shared interest in promoting peace and stability in the region,” Minister Reynolds said.
“Australia’s defence partnership with Timor-Leste was forged over 10 years of deployments to the country and continues today with ongoing training opportunities that enhance our already strong ties.”
Over 200 personnel from Army’s 1st Brigade 1st Combat Engineer Regiment, the Timor-Leste Defence Force (F-FDTL), US Navy, US Marine Corps and Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force will participate in this year's exercise.
Commander of the 1st Brigade, Brigadier Matt Pearse, said the activity has grown from 75 personnel in 2014 to more than 220 this year.
“Hari’i Hamutuk in Tetum means ‘build together’, and this exercise is a great opportunity for our Sappers to work alongside, and learn from, other security forces in the region to improve mutual skills in construction, infrastructure development and equipment maintenance,” BRIG Pearse said.
The commencement of Exercise Hari’i Hamutuk was marked with an opening ceremony on Wednesday, 21 August at the Metinaro Military Base.