French, Royal Australian Navy Chiefs meet in Canberra, Australia

Chief of the Royal Australian Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, welcomed his French counterpart, Admiral Bernard Rogel, in Canberra, Australia last week for a series of meetings aimed at strengthening the relationship between the two navies.

The visit comes in the wake of the Australian Government’s decision to have the French defense contractor DCNS build a fleet of new Australian submarines worth AUD 50 billion.

The countries also share many strategic interests as France has overseas territories in the Indian and Pacific oceans. Vice Admiral Barrett said the meetings were important for continuing the relationship which has been developed over the last century.

“I appreciate Admiral Rogel’s and the French Navy’s efforts in our region and these regular meetings enable our two countries to exchange knowledge and experience to expand our cooperation,” Vice Admiral Barrett said.

“France is a significant contributor in the Asia-Pacific, most recently lending their support, as we did, to assist the people of Fiji in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Winston.”

The discussions focussed on opportunities for interaction and combined operations, including in areas such as maritime surveillance, sovereignty missions and transnational crimes.

The Chiefs also took the opportunity to discuss the recently announced future submarine program which will see Australia and France work more closely together for the next 50 years.

Following the meetings, the Admirals visited the Australian War Memorial, where they viewed the First World War galleries, laid wreaths and attended the Last Post Ceremony, where they paid tribute to Sergeant John Richard Gilbert, who was killed on active service during the Second World War.