Singapore – Defence Minister Anita Anand accompanied by Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), General Wayne Eyre, and Associate Deputy Minister of National Defence Stefanie Beck, concluded their trip to the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. In the margins of this international forum, the Canadian delegation met with counterparts from 13 different countries, as well as the United States-led United Nations Command, to discuss common interests, reflect on shared challenges and explore areas for future collaboration in the Indo-Pacific region.
During her visit, Minister Anand met with counterparts from, Australia, France, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand Philippines, Singapore South Korea, Vietnam, and more, where she highlighted Canada’s active contributions to Indo-Pacific regional security through its forward naval presence operations, United Nations sanctions monitoring, as well as participation in regional exercises and multilateral engagement. In particular, the Minister discussed Canada’s efforts under Operation PROJECTION and announced that HMCS Winnipeg and HMCS Vancouver, along with their embarked helicopter detachments, will depart for RIMPAC, the world’s largest naval exercise in the coming days and then begin a deployment in the Indo-Pacific region.
In addition, the Minister joined several of her counterparts, as well as Admiral John C. Aquilino, Commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command, at a breakfast hosted by the Cohen Group, where she reiterated Canada’s commitment to enhancing its security contributions in the Indo-Pacific. The Minister, joined by Chief of the Defence Staff, General Eyre, also visited the Kranji War Cemetery to pay her respects to Canadian and other Commonwealth personnel who lost their lives in the Second World War.
During her engagements, Minister Anand highlighted Canada’s commitment to building a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific, including under the forthcoming Indo-Pacific Strategy, to further guide Canadian engagement in the region, and emphasized Canada’s aim to diversify and increase its supportive presence in the region from a defence perspective. To that end, the Minister signed a Defence Cooperation Arrangement with Singapore’s Minister of Defence, Dr. Ng Eng Hen. Canada and Singapore’s air forces and navies work together regularly and both forces will both participate in RIMPAC 2022 – the world’s largest naval exercise. This agreement will enable increased opportunities for interaction and partnership between the two countries’ armed forces going forward.
Minister Anand also spoke at the final plenary session, New Ideas for Securing Regional Stability, along with Dr. Ng and Inia Seruiratu, Fiji’s Minister for Defence. During this session, she outlined the threat environment, including Russia’s challenge to the rules-based international order and China’s increasingly assertive behaviour in the region and beyond; the importance of multilateralism along with minilateralism as a functional and nimble way to address regional security challenges; and Canada’s whole-of-government approach to building deeper partnerships with key allies through targeted activities and investments.
“As an Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific nation, Canada plays an active role in the Indo-Pacific region and we will continue to help build a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific. In my meetings with regional counterparts here at the Shangri-La Dialogue, we discussed innovative approaches to enhancing Indo-Pacific security based on the principle of responsible engagement. Through closer defence relationships, enhanced multilateral partnerships, and a comprehensive, new Indo-Pacific Strategy, Canada will continue working to uphold the rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific region.” – Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence