Australians and Malaysians have come together to mark the 25th anniversary of one of the Australian Defence Force’s most significant regional relationships.
The Malaysia Australia Joint Defence Program was signed in 1992 and is the cornerstone of the defence partnership between the two countries, providing a framework for bilateral defence cooperation across a range of strategic, operational, professional and non-military areas.
The co-operation includes a series of bi-lateral training exercises, training for Malaysian Armed Forces personnel in Australia and similar programs for Australian officers at the Malaysian Armed Forces Training College.
Australia’s High Commissioner to Malaysia, Rod Smith, said the Defence relationship between Australia and Malaysia was an important and enduring one.
“As we celebrate 25 years of the Malaysia Australia Joint Defence Program, we look forward to building on our existing ties to address new challenges and contribute to the continued security and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region,” he said.
Commodore Simon Ottaviano who represented the Australian Defence Force at the celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, said the partnership was a critical one for both countries.
“There are few sailors in our Navy today who have not worked with or alongside our Malaysian Defence partners,” he said.
“The Defence Program helps us to improve our interoperability so that we can strengthen our operational capabilities.”
The Program also provides opportunities for training and professional exchanges, with 13 Malaysian officers currently seconded in Australia and seven Australian officers currently seconded in Malaysia.
The two countries have a long history of co-operation pre-dating Malaysian independence when Australia helped in the region’s defence during the Second World War.