Defence Minister Anita Anand Announces Revamped Indo-Pacific Military Mission and Strengthens Canada’s Defence Relationships in the Region
June 3, 2023 – Singapore – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
Through Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, Canada is committed to reinforcing its military presence in the region, in support of a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific.
To that end, during her visit to Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue, the Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence, announced several initiatives to strengthen Canada’s defence presence in the Indo-Pacific.
- Minister Anand announced that Canada will significantly enhance its military presence in the Indo-Pacific through Operation HORIZON. The new operation will replace the Indo-Pacific portion of Canada’s existing Operation PROJECTION and involve the annual deployment of an additional warship to the region, increased Canadian participation in international exercises, and strengthened relationships with regional partners through increased security cooperation. Operation HORIZON will increase opportunities to work side-by-side with allies and partners and empower Canada to play an even more active role in contributing to regional security.
- Minister Anand noted that under Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, the Royal Canadian Navy deployed an Atlantic-based frigate to the Indo-Pacific Region for the first time in 2023. His Majesty’s Canadian Ship Montreal and the support ship Motor Vessel Asterix are currently in the region, delivering on our promise to grow our naval presence in the Indo-Pacific.
- Minister Anand also announced that the next Deputy Commander of the United Nations Command in the Republic of Korea will be a Canadian General Officer/Flag Officer. The current Chief of the Defence Staff, General Wayne Eyre, was the first non-US General Officer appointed to the position from 2018-2019. This commitment further increases Canada’s engagement with regional partners to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
- Minister Anand announced that Canada recently signed a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Republic of Korea on defence research and development, allowing defence scientists to share information and identify potential future partnerships. The MOU also facilitates collaboration between our respective defence organizations, which may include the exchange of information, scientists, and engineers.
“Canada is a Pacific nation, and is deeply committed to promoting a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific. Through Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, we are doing just that by strengthening our military presence in the region. Through Operation HORIZON, our allies and partners will be able to count on a persistent, more fulsome Canadian Armed Forces presence in the Indo-Pacific. We will continue to step up with meaningful defence contributions to the security of this region.”
The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence
Canada plays an active role in the Indo-Pacific through Operations NEON and PROJECTION (Indo-Pacific), participates in international exercises such as RIMPAC, and collaborates with partners through Canada’s Military Training and Cooperation Programme.
A Royal Canadian Air Force CP-140 Aurora Air Detachment recently completed a six-week rotation on Operation NEON, flying 130 hours over 16 sorties to conduct surveillance operations to identify suspected maritime sanctions evasion activities, in particular ship-to-ship transfers of fuel and other commodities banned by United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.
Canada conducts these activities as part of a broader multinational initiative alongside partners in the Pacific Security Maritime Exchange (PSMX), which brings together Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America to disrupt North Korea’s illicit smuggling activities and uphold the integrity of UNSC resolutions.
Op HORIZON will replace Op PROJECTION (Indo-Pacific) in Summer 2023, when two frigates and the support ship MV Asterix deploy from Canada’s West Coast fleet to the Indo-Pacific. All naval activities formerly conducted under Operation PROJECTION (Indo-Pacific), along with new activities conducted by the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Air Force, Special Forces Command, and other CAF elements, will then be conducted under our enhanced Operation HORIZON umbrella.
Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, released in November 2022, represents an ambitious, comprehensive, and integrated framework for increased Canadian engagement across the Indo-Pacific region. The Strategy also articulates Canada’s evolving approach to China, which is shaped by a realistic, updated, and clear-eyed assessment of today’s China. As we forge ahead with a strong, multidimensional approach to China, we will challenge China when we ought to and we will cooperate when we must. We will continue to work alongside allies and partners in the region to promote a stable, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
The Canadian Armed Forces has trained thousands of personnel from allied and partner militaries from the Indo-Pacific region in the areas of peace support operations, language, public affairs, and to reinforce the United Nations’ Women, Peace and Security agenda.
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Department of National Defence
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