Australia will host representatives from 20 other countries during Exercise Pacific Protector 2017 as part of an ongoing international commitment to try to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their delivery systems and related materials.
FILE PHOTO: HMAS Perth and an RNZAF P-3K Orion. Photo by Able Seaman Nicolas Gonzalez.
Exercise Pacific Protector will be held in Cairns, Queensland, from 6-9 September 2017 as part of the Asia-Pacific Exercise Rotation — a flagship event of the Proliferation Security Initiative, which is a global effort by 105 partner countries to build networks, tools and capabilities to counter illicit WMD-related trade across the globe.
Across the four days, participants will take part in a number of different activities, including academic sessions, a table top exercise, a subject matter exchange training program, a live exercise and demonstrations that will facilitate the sharing of intelligence, enhance quick decision-making processes, and deploy capabilities to conduct interdictions that will increase the capacity of PSI countries within the Indo-Pacific region.
The live exercise will comprise a Royal Australian Navy frigate, a Japanese P-3C Orion aircraft and a Queensland Police vessel in a scenario that will involve the tracking of ships suspected of carrying materials related to weapons of mass destruction.
Minister for Defence Marise Payne said Australia took its responsibilities very seriously to ensure the security of the Indo-Pacific region.
“We need look no further than North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs to understand the consequences of failing to prevent proliferation activities,” Minister Payne said.
“Pyongyang’s provocative and dangerous behaviour in continuing to test nuclear weapons only serves to heighten our sense of purpose in [attempting to] stopping proliferation.
“The Australian government is very pleased to be working with our regional PSI partners to enhance our ability to conduct and coordinate counter-proliferation operations.
“Trade security is a vital concern in the Indo-Pacific, given that the region hosts major trade routes, transhipment hubs and ever-increasing volumes of global trade.
“Exercise Pacific Protector 2017 sends a clear signal to all proliferators that their activities are being monitored and that PSI participants are prepared to take action to stop them by enforcing national and international law.”
Twenty PSI countries will participate in the exercise – Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, Fiji, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, Vanuatu and Vietnam.
India will observe this exercise as a non-endorsee of the PSI.