Engagement with India to be Cornerstone for Australian Defence Force’s Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019 (IPE19) Deployment

The South Asian region will be the focus for Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019 (IPE19), the third iteration of important Australian Defence Force (ADF) annual activity, Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne, announced on Dec. 19.

Engagement with India, one of Australia’s key strategic partners in the Indian Ocean region, will be the cornerstone for IPE19 with a number of high-level activities to be conducted to showcase the breadth and depth of our bilateral relationship.

Minister Pyne said Australia’s relationship with India had expanded significantly since the signing of the Whole-of-Government Framework for Security Cooperation in November 2014, and he was dedicated to further strengthening this partnership.

“Australia and India share a commitment to a peaceful and secure region, and to upholding a rules-based global order.

“Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019 is a major contribution to this effort. It reinforces Australia’s commitment to engaging all Indo-Pacific nations and promoting regional maritime security cooperation,” Minister Pyne said.

The Joint Task Force for next year’s expedition will involve up to five Royal Australian Navy vessels including a Landing Helicopter Dock, Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force assets and personnel, and foreign force elements.

As part of IPE19, Australia and India will participate in the biennial bilateral naval exercise AUSINDEX.

“The Joint Task Force will demonstrate the ADF’s ability to conduct combined activities with our strategic partners including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” Minister Pyne said.

“Building interoperability with key partners and improving coordination of responses was a key strategy outlined in the 2016 Defence White Paper. IPE19 is an important element of Defence putting this strategy into practice.”

During IPE19, ADF personnel will participate in a series of engagement activities and military training exercises during port visits to Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. In addition, ADF personnel will participate in the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus maritime exercise and the Five Power Defence Arrangements Exercise, Bersama Shield.

The IPE19 Joint Task Force is due to depart Perth in March 2019.

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