Defence personnel stopped by Sri Lanka and participated in military exercises, workshops, training, sporting events and cultural activities as part of Australia’s flagship regional engagement activity, Indo-Pacific Endeavour.
CAPTION: Sri Lanka Navy divers and Royal Australian Navy clearance divers underwater during an exerciseas part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2023. Story by Flight Lieutenant Claire Burnet. Photo by Lieutenant Joe Woods.
Indo-Pacific Endeavour is visiting 14 countries between June and October, with Defence personnel participating in a range of military activities and engagements involving maritime law, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and gender, peace and security.
This month, the activity was in Sri Lanka where a team of ADF lawyers (Navy and Army) facilitated a Maritime Law Forum in Colombo with counterparts from the Sri Lankan Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Police, focusing on the international legal aspects of transnational crime.
RAN Legal Officer Commander Jaqueline Swinton said the legal team had come from the ADF’s Indo-Pacific Centre for Military Law to deliver a two-day maritime security workshop.
“This workshop is part of the ADF’s commitment to education and training in Sri Lanka as part of the Defence Cooperation Program,” Commander Swinton said.
“For me as a lawyer, being here has really helped my understanding of the maritime legal issues being faced by the Sri Lankan armed forces and how the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea can support a more stable and secure Indo-Pacific region.”
Commander Maritime Border Command Rear Admiral Justin Jones said the Defence Strategic Review highlighted the need to invest in regional partnerships.
“Indo-Pacific Endeavour supports the Government’s commitment to deepening our diplomatic and Defence partnerships across South-East Asia and the north-east Indian Ocean,” Rear Admiral Jones said.
“Australia is not just in this region, we are of this region and committed to working with our partners to support a peaceful, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region that is predictable and operates by agreed rules.”
In Trincomalee, on Sri Lanka’s north-east coast, the Royal Australian Navy Clearance Diving Team Four conducted interoperability exercises with the Sri Lanka Navy clearance divers and Special Boat Squadron.
Executive Officer Australian Clearance Diving Team Four Lieutenant Joseph Woods said the team was sharing underwater sonar and navigation skills with the Sri Lanka Navy.
“Artemis is a new capability for use in both search and tactical diving,” Lieutenant Woods said.
“This week we have trained 15 Sri Lanka Navy clearance divers and Special Boat Squadron personnel on the Artemis system, including various search techniques, target acquisition and prosecution utilising sonar and under water navigation.”
CAPTION: Lieutenant Joseph Woods presents Command Diving Officer Lieutenant Commander Dhananjaya Vipulasena, of the Sri Lankan Navy, with a gift. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Samuel Miller.
ADF personnel who visited Sri Lanka for Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2023 were unanimous in their love for the country, food and people.
Next stop for Indo-Pacific Endeavour will be Timor Leste.