The Royal Australian Navy has started the annual Indo-Pacific Endeavour 19 (IPE 19) in Western Australia (WA) to contribute enhanced regional security and stability.

The South Asian region will be the focus of IPE 19, which is the third Indo-Pacific Endeavour event aimed at improving Australia’s engagement and partnerships with regional security forces.

In the launch, HMA Ships Canberra, Success, Newcastle, and Parramatta left Fremantle in WA.

Australia Defence Minister Christopher Pyne stated that the ministry attaches significance to building interoperability with key partners and improving coordination of humanitarian and security responses.

Pyne said: “IPE 19 is a major regional engagement activity for the ADF, which delivers on the promise of the 2016 Defence White Paper to strengthen Australia’s engagement and partnerships with regional security forces.

“IPE 19 is a major regional engagement activity for the ADF.”

“Our strong and enduring relationships with regional militaries, governments and local communities are critical to this.”

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Over the next three months, 1,000 embarked Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel will participate in a series of engagement activities and military training exercises during port visits in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

During IPE19, the Joint Task Force will have the opportunity to demonstrate some of the capabilities to host nations, including the helicopter landing dock ship HMAS Canberra.

According to the media release, Colombo, Sri Lanka is the first scheduled port call for HMAS Canberra.

In December, Pyne stated that engagement with India will form the core of IPE 19.

The annual event will also see personnel from Australia and India taking part in the biennial bilateral naval exercise AUSINDEX.