Colonel Paul Foura, Australian Defense Attaché to Vietnam

He stated that Vietnam and Australia are close partners in the Indo-Pacific region. Both countries share similar strategic interests, a vision of an inclusive, resilient and prosperous Indo-Pacific region as well as regional issues of common concerns. On that basis, the strong defense relations are a pillar of the strategic partnership between the two countries.

The officer affirmed that the Australian side is proud that the two countries have built practical defense ties over the past 20 years on various fields. Particularly, the cooperation programs in education and training have been developed significantly since its first English training courses at Unit 871 of the General Department of Political Affairs. This year, over 300 cadets are taking part in Australia’s English training programs in Hanoi and Nha Trang cities, he added.

He affirmed that the defense ties are now increasingly expanding to many other fields such as strategic dialogues, high-level contacts, or practical exchanges in the areas that can bring benefits to both sides. Notably, the U.N. peacekeeping operations is a real highlight in defense cooperation between the two countries.

The attaché underlined that the Australian side is proud of cooperating with the Vietnamese peacekeeping force by providing English training courses for its individuals since the first days of Vietnam’s participation in the U.N. peacekeeping operations. The courses helped improve capabilities for Vietnamese peacekeepers before they were deployed to the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in 2014. These courses have been continuously held until now, he said.

In addition, the Australian government provided essential equipment for the pre-deployment training of Vietnamese peacekeepers and their operation at U.N. missions.

Vietnamese peacekeepers on C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft

Notably, the Australian side have sent C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft to transport personnel, equipment, and vehicles four times to deploy Vietnam’s Level-two Field Hospitals (L2FH) to UNMISS and planned to continue to support the fifth deployment of Vietnam’s L2FH in 2023, he reaffirmed.

The images of Vietnamese peacekeepers getting on Australia’s C-17 aircraft is a strong symbol for the close and increasingly developed ties between the two countries. The Australian government will continuously give priority to accelerating cooperation with Vietnam in the U.N. peacekeeping operations to help the Vietnamese peacekeeping force take part in the field in a more active manner.

Regarding the future defense cooperation prospects, Colonel Paul Foura held that the defense ties are increasingly developed, contributing significantly to the development of the bilateral relations in general. Particularly, each side flexibly adjusted cooperation programs and shared experience when the COVID-19 pandemic happened. These proved the high level of mutual trust between the two sides.

Vietnam and Australia are also expanding cooperation to other fields of greater common interests such as maritime security or information sharing. The upcoming Vietnam International Defense Expo 2022 in December is expected to bring more cooperative opportunities for both sides. Vietnam and Australia should continue to further strengthen defense ties in accordance with the strategic partnership between the two countries, he concluded.

Translated by Trung Thanh