The Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) liaison officer for Exercise Talisman Sabre 2021 (TS21), Lieutenant Colonel Amanda Aldous, has affirmed Canada’s intent to strengthen military ties in the Indo-Pacific.
TS21 is Australia’s largest bilateral exercise with the United States.
“We have a long history with America and Australia, and being here highlights the Five Eyes partnership,” Lieutenant Colonel Aldous said.
“Canada sees itself as a Pacific nation and we want to enhance our presence in the region to develop relationships as a trusted and reliable partner.”
Five Eyes is an intelligence-sharing agreement, and Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the United States are signatories.
All those nations are participating in TS21, being held in Queensland from July 14 to 31.
Despite a reduced Canadian presence due to COVID-19, HMCS Calgary, a Halifax-class frigate with an embarked Cyclone helicopter air detachment, joined a multinational naval task group consisting of vessels from Australia, America, Japan and the Republic of Korea.
The CAF was also represented by army, air force and navy personnel working across headquarters and joint operations’ command roles, with Lieutenant Colonel Aldous, supported by Master Warrant Officer Jennifer Cooper, the only all-female leadership team from the participating nations.
The exercise presented opportunities for future engagement, according to Lieutenant Colonel Aldous, who posited that, due to its proximity to Antarctica, Australia could learn from the Canadian experience working in austere environments, such as the Arctic region.
“A big focus in Canada is our ability to operate and defend our northern sovereignty – there are opportunities for joint or multinational training there,” she said.
Discussions about Canadian commitment to Talisman Sabre 2023 were already underway, according to Lieutenant Colonel Aldous.
“We’re taking lots of notes and observations about lessons learned for ourselves and what ways we can be involved in the future,” she said.