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Massive Australia military exercise begins in Sri Lanka

Daily News logo Daily News 25/3/2019 Daily News (via HT Media Ltd.)

Royal Australian Navy are pictured during a guided tour of HMAS Canberra (L02) at the main port in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo on March 23, 2019. © ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images Royal Australian Navy are pictured during a guided tour of HMAS Canberra (L02) at the main port in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo on March 23, 2019. Sri Lanka, March 25 -- Australia's largest-ever defence engagement with Sri Lanka began in the island, on Saturday morning.

Indo Pacific Endeavour 2019 (IPE19) commenced with the arrival of a Joint Task Force comprising the Royal Australian Army, its Navy ships, and Air Force aircraft with over 1,000 personnel.

HMAS Canberra and HMAS Newcastle arrived at the Colombo Port, while HMAS Parramatta and HMAS Success docked at the Trincomalee Port.

Sri Lankan Navy Commodore Sanjeeva Dias and Acting High Commissioner Jon Philp met Joint Task Force Commander Air Commodore Richard Owen, on arrival, a statement from the Australian High Commission said.

After speaking with Philp and the Joint Task Force Commander, journalists gathered at the Colombo Port to witness the arrival of the ships were taken on board the HMAS Canberra.

As Indo-Pacific nations, Australia and Sri Lanka are working together on maritime security interests in the Indian Ocean.

Australian and Sri Lankan defence forces will spend the next week working together on disaster assistance planning, naval manoeuvres and military training activities to improve cooperation, familiarity, and interoperability.

Royal Australian Air Force aircraft will also visit Mattala airport.

Australia's vision for the Indo-Pacific is a region that is secure, open, prosperous and resilient. Sri Lanka is a partner of choice for Australia and the first country visited on this multi-nation exercise, the statement said.

After departing Sri Lanka, IPE19 ships and aircraft will visit other regional partners including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Published by HT Digital Content Services with permission from Daily News Sri Lanka.

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