Continued co-operation between navies, maritime forces, and their parent countries remains critical in ensuring good order at sea and the protection of strategic interests, the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) Chief of Navy (CN) told the service’s flagship conference in Sydney on 10 May.
Giving the keynote address at the Indo-Pacific Seapower Conference 2022, which tackled the broad theme of ‘Australia and the Indo-Pacific: a commonality of purpose’, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan said: “Good order at sea is vital to our welfare and our national security”, adding that “[it] requires a multilateral approach, deep co-ordination, and strong partnerships, [and] depends on a mutual commitment to norms of co-operative behaviour, to freedom, and to international law.”
“We will all observe around the world today the incredible suffering and violations of international law that none of us expected to see in 2022,” VAdm Noonan noted.
From a national perspective, CN said, “The sea is Australia’s lifeblood. We are absolutely dependent upon it. We trade [and] travel by sea; our economy, our prosperity, our way of life all count on the sea.”
“The Indo-Pacific … defines Australia’s immediate strategic interests. Access through it is crucial for Australia’s trade and security,” he continued. “As our region deals with an elevated strategic competition, the RAN, and the Australian Defence Force more broadly, will operate closely alongside our allies and like-minded partners as a force for good.”
As regards multinational co-operation with such allies and partners, VAdm Noonan said: “Our navies and maritime forces have long-established patterns of deployment and engagement in this region. The relationships that we share as seafarers are integral to Australian security planning.”
“In our ambitions for peace and for mutual prosperity, we here today share a commonality of purpose,” CN continued. “We share in the ambition for stronger and even better relationships; we recognise the work which is ahead of us all; we recognise that, in our region, our navies and our maritime forces must work together to exercise good influence, to defend others against oppression, and to secure the interests of our countries and safeguard the welfare of our citizens.”
by Dr. Lee Willett