After a busy three months, Indo-Pacific Endeavour’s Vietnamese leg has wrapped up, coinciding with 50 years of diplomatic relations between Australia and Vietnam.
CAPTION: Lieutenant Commander Emily Ross accepts flowers from Vietnam People’s Navy Captain Ngyuen Viet Ahn during HMAS Toowoomba’s departure ceremony at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, as part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour. Story by Sub-Lieutenant Tahlia Merigan. Photos by Leading Seaman Ernesto Sanchez.
From Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, activities included trilateral English language teacher training; a gender, peace and security seminar; a visit from the ADF Surgeon General; a HMAS Toowoomba port visit and an international law exchange.
Commander Indo-Pacific Endeavour Air Commodore Tony McCormack said a great deal was accomplished.
“All of these mutually beneficial activities we do together helps us as two countries work together and become closer,” Air Commodore McCormack said.
In August, instructors from the Defence International Training Centre travelled to Hanoi to work with English language teachers from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia’s Armed Forces to share perspectives and approaches for teaching languages.
This was followed by a seminar on encouraging men as partners of the women, peace and security agenda in United Nations peacekeeping, hosted by Vietnam’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Gender, Peace and Security Directorate.
Toowoomba’s port visit in Ho Chi Minh City forged closer links between navies through a friendly sports match and the first search-and-rescue exercise between the two countries.
Defence Attaché to Vietnam Group Captain Mick Jansen appreciated the opportunity to work with the Vietnam People’s Navy and try something new.
“We are very keen to build the complexity of our practical naval cooperation, and this first time doing such a practical activity is major step forward for the bilateral relationship,” Group Captain Jansen said.
Rear Admiral Nguyen Viet Khanh, from the Vietnam People’s Navy, said the ADF’s visit marked a step forward in “enhancing military understanding, interests and making positive contributions to the Vietnam-Australian strategic partnership”.
Finally, discussions at the international law seminar in Hanoi centred on maritime security, law of the sea and legal aspects of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief response.
First Secretary Defence at the Australian Embassy in Hanoi Peita Spence said it was great to welcome the ADF back to Vietnam and build on previous years.
“One of the priorities for Indo-Pacific Endeavour is enhancing defence’s regional partnership, and that was certainly demonstrated through our three months’ worth of activities in Vietnam,” Ms Spence said.
“Every year we’re building the complexity of our engagements, particularly in international law and gender, peace and security.
“This year’s Indo-Pacific Endeavour also laid the foundations for deepening practical navy cooperation.”