The navies of Australia, New Zealand, Timor-Leste and the US have completed the ninth multilateral, humanitarian and disaster response exercise, Pacific Partnership 2014 (PP14), in Dili, Timor-Leste.
Claimed to be the largest annual operation conducted in the Asia-Pacific region, the exercise involved improving disaster preparation in five South East Asian host nations, including Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and Timor-Leste.
As part of the mission, defence forces carried out a range of engineering and community projects, dental care, and training engagements.
New Zealand ambassador to Timor-Leste Jonathan Schwass said that the exercise demonstrated what can be achieved when nations work together.
"These projects have supported Timor-Leste's development and they're also vital preparation for our nations, working together in times of crisis, such as natural disasters," Schwass said.
The exercise also involved undersea medical experts from the US Navy, who worked with Cambodian deminers on basic life support techniques. This was part of the Golden West Humanitarian Foundation's efforts to deal with essential deficits in mine-hit nations.
The US Navy's 30th Naval Construction Regiment commodore captain Rodney Moore said: "Through this language of cooperation and teamwork, we empower communities and create lasting, positive change."
The two-month exercise also featured instantaneous seaborne and airborne phases, with the airborne element targeted at Indonesia and Timor-Leste.
The seaborne phase, which is led by Japan, is scheduled to tour Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines.
Furthermore, medical and engineering personnel will carry out a range of medical, dental and veterinary engagements, together with civil action projects and community relations events.
Image: Personnel during an engineering project in support of Pacific Partnership 2014. Photo: courtesy of Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Stephen Oleksiak.