Sri Lanka and Australia expand naval links with joint exercise
Mar 15, 2019 16:55 PM GMT+0530 | 0 Comment(s)
ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka and Australia are conducting joint naval exercises to boost interoperability and co-operation, which will support a rules-based order in the Indian Ocean, officials said.
'It helps in developing and deepening our partnership," Acting High Commissioner for Australia Jon Phillips said.
"It will help our armed forced understand each other better."
Sri Lanka is viewed as a key partner in Australia's defence and maritime policy, he said. The exercise will be the largest ever between the two countries.
Japanese and Western nations have also stepped up visits to Sri Lanka, with China making inroads to Sri Lanka.
China is now running a commercial port it built in Hambantota, in the south of the country.
No visit by Australian ships is planned to the Hambantota port at this time.
A task force made up of Australian vessels HMAS Canberra, Success, Newcastle, and Parramatta, manned by around 1,000 Australia Defence Force personnel, will visit Sri Lanka's Colombo and Trincomalee ports.
They will engaged in activities with Sri Lankan military personnel and 29 officers will travel in the ships as they leave Colombo.
Royal Australian Air Force P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft will also visit Mattala Airport.
The task force will then travel to India, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia. (Colombo/Mar15/2019-SB)