EOSAustralian defence officials recently announced the government has reaffirmed ties with India on naval affairs and with the Solomon Islands on explosive ordnance disposal.

The Royal Australian Navy and Indian Navy have reaffirmed their strong ties and continued commitment to working closely together to ensure a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. Chief of the Royal Australian Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, and Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian Navy, Admiral Karambir Singh have signed a new Joint Guidance for the Australia – India ‘Navy to Navy’ relationship. “We are proud to sign a new shared vision for working even closer with the Indian Navy to promote peace, security, stability and prosperity in our region,” Noonan said. “Our predecessors signed a Joint Guidance in New Delhi in 2007 and since then, our relationship has grown significantly in scope and sophistication. We look forward to even stronger ties between our two navies in the decades ahead.”

The Joint Guidance outlines a shared intent to conduct regular talks, professional exchanges, and joint training. It also outlines an intent to collaborate in efforts, including search and rescue, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief where required. The Joint Guidance aligns with the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreed by Australia and India in 2020.

Meanwhile, Australia and the Solomon Islands are deepening cooperation on explosive ordnance disposal, with a $15 million package of infrastructure works, equipment and training announced in Honiara. The package builds on Defence’s longstanding cooperation with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force to address the legacy of World War II-era explosive remnants of war across the archipelago. Two fatal incidents in the last 12 months underscore the tragic ongoing human impact of unexploded ordnance on Solomon Islands and its people.

Infrastructure works, including redevelopment of the demolitions range at the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force Hells Point facility, will enhance capacity to safely and securely store and dispose of World War II-era ordnance. A new high-mobility engineering excavator will boost police capacity to extract explosive remnants of war in Honiara and across Solomon Islands. The excavator can also be used to respond to natural disasters.

Australian Defence Force (ADF) experts will work closely with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force to design a tailored training package, focused on advanced skills and instructor training for experienced officers, as well as training for new officers. This package complements training and operational support delivered under the Defence Cooperation Program, including through an embedded ADF Explosive Ordnance Disposal Adviser, and through the ADF’s contribution across the Pacific under Operation RENDER SAFE. Training and construction of the main works will commence in 2022.


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