The Armidale Class Patrol Boat HMAS Childers has arrived in Burma for a four day good will visit - the first visit by an Australian warship to Burma since HMAS Quiberon in 1959.
The visit is part of the Australian Government's moves to strengthen ties with the Myanmar Government, which have also included the re-establishment of a resident Defence Attaché office in Burma.
Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Captain Jon Dudley arrived in Rangoon today to fill the post left vacant since 1979.
Captain Dudley has previously served as Australian Defence Attaché to Thailand and Naval Attaché to Indonesia.
Acting Minister for Defence, Senator George Brandis welcomed the visit by HMAS Childers and her 21 crew, who will stay for four days as part of a good will visit.
“This is the first RAN ship to visit Burma in a very long time. It and Captain Dudley’s arrival signify our modest but growing defence engagement following political and economic reforms initiated by the Government of Myanmar in 2011,” Senator Brandis said.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop also welcomed the closer defence cooperation with the Myanmar Government as it seeks to open its economy and transition to a democracy.
“The ship visit and the appointment of the Defence Attaché are important steps in strengthening and broadening our bilateral relationship,” the Foreign Minister said.
“Australia strongly supports the reform process initiated by the Myanmar Government in 2011. The Myanmar military plays an important role in ensuring the success of the reform process.”
This visit by HMAS Childers forms part of Australia’s growing engagement with the Myanmar military.
“Australia’s engagement with the Myanmar military, including this visit, allows the Australian Defence Force to reinforce the role of a professional defence force in a modern democracy,” Senator Brandis said.
After departing Rangoon, HMAS Childers will make a second port call at Chittagong in Bangladesh before joining Exercise MILAN 2014 off the Andaman Islands, a major biennial exercise involving navies of the Indian Ocean region and hosted by the Indian Navy.
Imagery is available on the Australian Defence Image Gallery at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20140049.