• July 16, 2024
 Fleeting glimpse into Australia’s Indo-Pacific Endeavour

Fleeting glimpse into Australia’s Indo-Pacific Endeavour

Spread the love
Digiqole Ad

Journalists from Southeast Asia on their visit to HMAS Adelaide. 

As part of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit International Media Visit (IMV), journalists from Southeast Asia visited and explored a Royal Australian Navy (RAN) major fleet base in Sydney. Here, they received a briefing about Australia’s Indo-Pacific Endeavour (IPE).

Nine journalists from Southeast Asia – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam – had the opportunity to explore the Fleet Base East, a naval base located in Sydney.

The journalists toured the HMAS Adelaide (L01), the second of two RAN Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) ships. It stands as the largest naval vessel ever built for Australia.

They were also briefed by Commodore Michael John Harris, Commander of the Indo-Pacific Endeavour LHD and Director General of the Maritime Operations.

Through his presentation, Commodore Harris explained about the IPE which is Australia’s flagship regional engagement activity.

IPE began in 2017 as an annual activity, coordinated by the Australian Defence Force (ADF), to strengthen Australia’s engagement and partnerships with regional security forces.

“With Indo-Pacific Endeavour, we visit 14 countries and take Australia to our international partners in Southeast Asia and the North East and the Indian Ocean,” Commodore Harris said.

He showed a map of IPE countries, which consists of the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Laos, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Thailand, Brunei, Sri Lanka, Maldives, India and Bangladesh.

Commodore Michael John Harris, Commander of the Indo-Pacific Endeavour LHD and Director General of the Maritime Operations, gives a briefing about Australia’s Indo-Pacific Endeavour. KT/Ben Sokhean

Commodore Harris noted that Australia supports the region’s aspirations for economic development, critical infrastructure construction and clean energy transition.

“Strengthening and modernising of Australia’s defence capabilities will form part of Australia’s contribution to a peaceful, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region,” he said.

He said Australia has a long history of collaborating with regional partners to safeguard nations’ ability to act in their own best interests, noting that The Defence Strategic Review emphasised the importance of investing in the region and partnerships.

He said IPE stands out as a crucial avenue through which Australia is fulfilling these imperative, solidifying alliances and fostering mutual cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.

Commodore Harris said the ADF, alongside teams from other government agencies like the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, will conduct engagements in 14 countries this year, mirroring the efforts during IPE 2020.

“This will include all members of ASEAN, minus Myanmar, but includes Timor-Leste, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the Maldives,” he said.

He highlighted “IPE23” which entailed activities across Southeast Asia and the Northeast Indian Ocean, reinforcing Australia’s commitment to a peaceful, secure and prosperous region.

“So during IPE 23, defence personnel participated in over 100 military and engagement activities covering issues such as maritime war; humanitarian assistance and disaster relief; and gender, peace and security. Over a five-month period from June to October last year, we engaged with 13 countries, from India in the west to the Philippines in the east,” he said.

“The IPE 23 activity with the Maldives was delayed at the Maldives’ request and due to their schedules because their election was in October last year, and we completed the Maldives’ leg of IPE 23 back at end of January this year,” he added.

He elaborated that Australia’s approach involved a blend of ship, aircraft, and personnel visits, with over 2,080 individuals participating in IPE 23.

The core principles of IPE 23 revolve around strengthening diplomatic and defence partnerships, improving interoperability, fostering people-to-people connections and bolstering defence cooperation.

For the IPE24 programme, Commodore Harris said it is currently in the developmental phase, including the determination of dates and the specifics of various events.

Nevertheless, he said the commitment remains steadfast to the core principles of IPE, as previously highlighted.

It will prioritise the strengthening of diplomatic and defence partnerships while enhancing interoperability among the forces, ensuring readiness and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.

Commodore Harris has had a distinguished career in the RAN since joining in 1988 through the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA).

Throughout his career, he has held various command positions and staff roles, including serving as the RAN’s Liaison Officer to the Commander of the United States Naval Central Command/Commander USN Fifth Fleet in Bahrain.

He has commanded several vessels, including the HMAS Townsville and HMAS Melbourne, and has been recognised for his service with commendations and awards.

Currently, he serves as the Commander of Indo-Pacific Endeavour (COMIPE 24), showcasing his extensive experience and leadership in maritime operations.

Digiqole Ad

Related post