All nations visiting Australia for Exercise KAKADU 2018 took some time during the harbour phase to share their cultural heritage in a showcase evening of performances, demonstrations and food.
National pride took centre stage as each Navy showed what makes them unique while guests sampled the best that selected ships’ galleys could produce.
Commanding Officer HMAS Melbourne, Commander Marcus Buttler, said the cultural evening was designed to enhance the relations that underpin military cooperation.
“One of the best parts of an international exercise with so many countries is the chance to socialise and build people-to-people links between militaries,” Commander Buttler said.
“It’s good to see our friends from Tonga and Fiji who we spent time with during Indo Pacific Endeavour earlier this year, and further the relationship with the Indian ship INS Sahyadri that was in our task group during Exercise Rim of the Pacific.
“The relationships we build not only serve us well for the Exercise, they form the basis of long-term security partnerships with a lasting impact for the region.
“Through events such as the cultural evening, we develop a greater appreciation for each other and sharing our cultures fosters understanding that brings us closer together.”
The Royal Australian Navy’s indigenous performance group, Bungaree, led the evening, which saw traditional performances from 11 visiting nations including Indonesia, New Zealand, India, and China.
“Before we spend the next week at sea integrating our forces, it is great to spend some social time rekindling friendships and making new ones,” Commander Buttler said.
“Everyone is extremely proud of their Navy and their country and this pride is also reflected in professionalism at sea.”
Exercise KAKADU 2018 ships sail on Thursday for the sea phase, which includes force integration training where countries come together into combined task groups, followed by a series of increasingly complex warfare scenarios.