HMA Ships Canberra and Newcastle have arrived in Phuket, Thailand as part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019 (IPE19), Australia’s international engagement and capacity-building mission to South and Southeast Asia.
The 800 members of Canberra’s and Newcastle’s ships’ companies, as well as their embarked forces will undertake a busy program, which includes humanitarian assistance and disaster relief demonstrations from both Australian and Thai forces, as well as a variety of community engagements.
Commander of the IPE19 Joint Task Force, Air Commodore Rick Owen, AM said the visit to Thailand would build on a long history of Australian and Thai cooperation to address shared security challenges.
“The strong defence relationship has a 70 year history covering a variety of areas crucial to maintaining regional stability and security,” Air Commodore Owen said.
“Our nations have time and again proven the ability to work together when required, having both contributed to UN missions in East Timor, South Sudan and Iraq, as well as Combined Maritime Forces patrols in the Gulf of Aden.
“The value of our practical cooperation was highlighted during the cave rescue of the Wild Boars football team in Tham Luang in 2018, when Australia proudly supported Thailand to achieve a successful outcome.
“The humanitarian assistance and disaster relief demonstrations during IPE19 will facilitate greater knowledge-sharing between our militaries, ensuring more seamless integration when responding to potential future disaster events.”
The IPE19 Joint Task Force visit takes place the week prior to the 4-6 May coronation of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
His Majesty the King’s completion of military studies at the Royal Military College Duntroon is a testament to the firm bonds of friendship that exist between Thailand and Australia.
IPE19 is the major Australian Defence Force regional engagement activity, delivering on the 2016 Defence White Paper promise to strengthen Australia’s engagement and partnerships with regional security forces.