Minister Anand announces defence and security elements of Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy


November 27, 2022

Good afternoon.

I join you from the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the Huron-Wendat and the Haudenosaunee. Today and every day, we reaffirm our commitment towards meaningful reconciliation and respectful partnership with Indigenous peoples.

I am here to outline the defence and security elements of the government’s Indo-Pacific Strategy – a plan that positions Canada to take on a greater leadership role in promoting peace and stability in the region.

As my colleagues mentioned, we must show the world the very best of what Canada has to offer; we must diversify our diplomatic and military networks; and we must demonstrate that Canada is a reliable partner in the Indo-Pacific.

Last weekend, I had the privilege to co-host the annual Halifax International Security Forum.

From my conversations with friends, allies, and partners at the forum, I consistently heard great enthusiasm for Canadian leadership on the world stage, as like-minded nations tackle the mounting threats to our shared rules-based international order.

Stability in the Indo-Pacific is essential to global security because the region is at the centre of a global shift.

The Indo-Pacific is the fastest growing economic region in the world, and virtually every single security issue in the future will run through this region.

The region is home to India, which has growing economic opportunities for Canada, and deep people-to-people ties with our country.

The region is also home to the world’s most populous country — China.

And, Canada’s relationship with China is one of the core elements of the Indo-Pacific strategy.

It is no secret that China is becoming increasingly assertive as it advances interests and values that are very different from ours.

Canada will continue to have an open relationship with China.

We will challenge China when we ought to, we will cooperate with China when we must, and we will work closely with our allies and partners to help maintain peace, security, and stability in the region.

As I outlined when I visited Singapore this June for the Shangri-La Dialogue, as a Pacific nation, Canada makes several valuable contributions to regional security.

For example, through Operation PROJECTION, Canadian frigates deploy to the region to conduct forward naval presence operations, cooperative deployments, and participate in international naval exercises with partner nations.

Through Operation NEON, Canada deploys ships, aircraft and personnel to conduct surveillance operations to identify suspected sanctions evasion by North Korea.

The Canadian Armed Forces have also been offering professional development and language training to partners in the region.

Wherever I go, our allies and partners say that they want to see more of Canada.

Today’s strategy delivers exactly that, with four new defence and security initiatives, backed by an investment of approximately half a billion dollars.

First, Canada will increase its naval presence in the region.

Under Operation PROJECTION, Canada has been deploying two frigates on annual deployments to the Indo-Pacific. This year, we deployed HMCS Vancouver and HMCS Winnipeg, which are currently on their way back to Canada.

While deployed, our two frigates participated in multinational maritime exercises such as Exercise KEEN SWORD with Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

And, after transiting through the international waters of the Taiwan Strait, our Navy then proceeded to monitor United Nations sanctions targeting North Korea under Operation NEON.

These types of activities promote the rules-based international order and improve our interoperability with allied and partner forces in the region.

Today, we’re announcing an investment of 369.4 million dollars to maintain and increase our naval presence in the region.

In particular, we will boost our annual naval deployments from two to three frigates. This third frigate will sail from Canadian Forces Base Halifax to the region every year – boosting our presence, particularly in the Indian Ocean.

This additional capacity will enhance Canada’s naval capabilities in the region throughout the year, and deepen our defence partnerships.

Second, Canada will invest 48.7 million dollars to increase the Canadian Armed Forces’ participation in joint exercises with regional allies and partners.

Currently, our participation in these exercises is largely naval in focus, and this investment will enable increased opportunities for Canadian aviators and soldiers to participate in regional exercises, and bolster military cooperation with countries in the region.

This sustained investment will enable CAF members to travel to region more frequently and consistently, and ensure a modern, diversified Canadian military presence in the region.

Third, we are launching a new Canadian-led military capacity-building program, through which the Canadian Armed Forces will offer mentorship and expertise to partners in the Indo-Pacific.

Through a commitment of 68.2 million dollars, the Canadian Armed Forces will deliver tailored and relevant training that meets the needs of our regional partners, with a focus on building the capability, interoperability, and sustainability of partner forces in Southeast Asia — such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

As part of this new program, Canada will lead training initiatives that focus on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, thereby increasing awareness of gender issues across the region, informed by our work at home to build a more inclusive military.

We know that Canadian training is world-class. We have seen this with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and indeed, around the world through our Military Training and Cooperation Program.

Today’s investments will allow us to expand these efforts in an increasingly important region of the world.

Finally, while we continue to expand traditional military capabilities, we believe that cybersecurity is at the core of the modern defence portfolio.

Canada has leading cybersecurity expertise that we can share with our partners in the Indo-Pacific region.

Today, we’re announcing that Canada will launch new initiatives to support regional military partners seeking to bolster their cyber security and cyber capabilities. Our goal will be to work with partners in the region to improve their ability to detect and respond to cyber threats.

Our national cryptologic agency, the Communications Security Establishment, is a key part of this Indo-Pacific Strategy — and will contribute to enhancing our ties with the region through the Augmented Intelligence Capacity Initiative and the Cyber and Diplomacy Initiative — supported by investments of approximately 30 million dollars.

We will enhance our ability to exercise and operate with our closest allies on cyber issues tied to the Indo-Pacific.

These new resources will help to increase Canada’s foreign intelligence support to government partners in defence and security, and enable close collaboration with our Five Eyes and regional partners.

To conclude, these four defence initiatives, taken together, will comprise a meaningful Canadian contribution to a safer and more peaceful Indo-Pacific region.

This strategy will showcase the best that Canada has to offer, while making us an even greater force for positive change.

And through this strategy, as always, Canada will continue to help uphold the international rules and norms that underpin our shared stability.

As a Pacific nation ourselves, Canada has much to offer the region, and the region has many opportunities for Canada.

Next week, I will be travelling to Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, the home of Canada’s Pacific fleet, where I will welcome home our sailors from their deployment in the Indo-Pacific.

My message to them will be the same as my message today: As the Indo-Pacific becomes more and more central to global security, Canada must, and will, be a reliable, committed partner in the region.

Thank you, miigwech.

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