Reinforcing Commitment to the Indo-Pacific
In a significant display of Canada’s dedication to reinforcing its military presence in the Indo-Pacific region, His Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Ottawa and Vancouver, accompanied by the Naval Replenishment Unit Motor Vessel (MV) Asterix, have set sail from Esquimalt.
This deployment marks a notable stride towards Canada’s commitment to augment its annual warship deployments from two to three, starting this year.
Strengthening Military Footprint
HMCS Ottawa and Vancouver, the second and third Royal Canadian Navy warships to be dispatched to the Indo-Pacific in 2023, are set to make a substantial impact.
These Halifax-class frigates, each manned by around 240 Royal Canadian Navy sailors and a Royal Canadian Air Force detachment supporting the ship’s CH-148 helicopter, are poised to enhance Canada’s military presence in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Multi-Purpose Naval Support
Accompanying the warships is the Naval Replenishment Unit Motor Vessel (MV) Asterix, operated by approximately 150 civilian and military personnel.
The MV Asterix boasts diverse capabilities spanning aerial, naval, medical, and replenishment services, allowing it to provide comprehensive at-sea support for both military operations and allied activities.
Strengthening Canada’s Engagement
Canada’s unwavering commitment to the Indo-Pacific finds its embodiment in this deployment, aimed at diversifying and bolstering the nation’s military presence in the region. The move underscores Canada’s stance for a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific, highlighting its readiness to engage in operations that promote peace and security.
During their nearly five-month deployment, the warships will actively engage in a range of bilateral and multinational exercises and interactions with regional military forces and security partners.
HMCS Ottawa’s focus will be directed toward Southeast Asia, while HMCS Vancouver will center its efforts on Northeast Asia. Notably, HMCS Vancouver will contribute to the monitoring of United Nations sanctions against North Korea through Op NEON.
Strengthening Strategy and Commitment
This deployment comes as a culmination of Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, launched in 2022, which stands as a testament to the nation’s unwavering commitment to the region.
At the 2023 Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Defence Minister Anita Anand announced the renaming of Operation PROJECTION (Indo-Pacific) to Operation HORIZON, in recognition of Canada’s augmented military presence under the strategy.
An Important Milestone
2023 marks a pivotal year as Canada deploys three warships to the Indo-Pacific, aligning with the commitment set forth in its Indo-Pacific Strategy.
In March, HMCS Montréal pioneered this effort by being the first warship from the East Coast to set sail for the region, particularly focusing on reinforcing Canada’s presence in the Indian Ocean.
Addressing Regional Priorities
Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy rests on five interlinked priorities, underlining the Department of National Defence (DND) and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) dedication to fostering peace, resilience, and security.
This comprehensive strategy encompasses increased participation in regional exercises, capacity-building programs, the establishment of civilian defense roles, and the launch of innovative cyber initiatives.
Operation NEON (Op NEON), a contribution by the Canadian Armed Forces to the multinational endeavor of monitoring United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed against North Korea, finds its place in this commitment to international security.
Statements of Commitment
“The Indo-Pacific Region is vital to global security, and its importance will only increase in the coming years. Through our Indo-Pacific Strategy, Canada is significantly increasing its military presence in the region to support a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific where international rules prevail.”
“I thank our Canadian Armed Forces personnel for their dedication and service, and I wish them success on this mission.”
The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence
“Greater security in the Indo-Pacific can only be forged by years of consistent collaboration with military and defence partners to build interoperability and trust between like-minded nations.”
“Canada’s expanded defence presence in the region demonstrates that we can be counted on to be an engaged and reliable partner in the Indo-Pacific now, and in the years to come.”
General Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff.