An important step forward was taken in Fremantle this week, as the navies of Australia, India and Indonesia came together for the first time to discuss mutual maritime security objectives.
As leaders within the region, the three nations and navies share a geographical and strategic interest in working together where appropriate to promote a secure and rules based Indian Ocean maritime environment.
The trilateral workshop was established by letters exchanged between the three Chiefs of Navy.
The workshop was designed to provide a forum to foster trust between the three navies and deliver outcomes at sea in a respectful manner that builds on existing security architecture and the strong bilateral relationships between the respective nations.
Australian Defence Minister, Senator Linda Reynolds, spoke on the importance of Indian Ocean cooperation in her speech at the Shangri‑La Dialogue earlier this year, emphasising the importance of a region that is open and inclusive, respectful of sovereignty and where disputes are resolved peacefully.
Commodore Ramakrishnan, the Indian co-Chair, highlighted that the geographical locations of the three nations provided the reasons to cooperate, find areas of mutual interest, and tackle common challenges.
He said that India’s interests included enhanced maritime security, safety of seafarers, promoting legitimate trade, monitoring pollution and responding to natural disasters.
During the workshops, the Indonesian delegation led by Commodore Erwin stated that President Widodo was deeply invested in reviving Indonesia’s maritime heritage as an archipelagic state at the cross roads of the Indo-Pacific and implementing his Global Maritime Fulcrum vision.
“The workshop was significant because it was the first time all three navies had come together to discuss collaborative and fruitful maritime security objectives,” Commodore Erin said.
The Australian co-chair, Commodore Robert Plath, Deputy Fleet Commander of the Royal Australian Navy said the workshop was significant for the region.
“The trilateral workshop was significant as it illustrated the willingness of each navy to work cooperatively, as well as the trust that has been cultivated within the Indian Ocean region,” Commodore Plath said.
In addition to the workshop, the delegations visited the Austal Shipyard in Henderson for a guided tour, where they observed the construction of the Guardian Class Patrol Boat RFNS Savenaca, Fiji, and inspected the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Facility.