The closure of the Suez Canal and disruption to the global supply chain following the beaching of the Ever Given in 2021 highlighted the importance of having a stable Indo-Pacific region, according to Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Michael Noonan.

Vice Admiral Noonan said Australia’s trade, economy and prosperity relied on the security of the oceans in the region.

In that vein, the Royal Australian Navy will host the Indo Pacific Sea Power Conference 2022 in conjunction with the Indo Pacific 2022 International Maritime Exposition at the International Convention Centre, Sydney, from May 10-12.

The theme of the conference is Australia and the Indo-Pacific: A Commonality of Purpose.

Military delegations from more than 30 countries will be participating in the conference, while more than 700 Defence industry businesses will be involved in the industry expo. 

Vice Admiral Noonan said one important topic for discussion would be the evolving nature of ‘grey-zone’ activities in the Indo-Pacific. 

“While these activities don’t meet the threshold of something that would trigger conflict, they involve coercive activities such as the militarisation of disputed features or the coercive use of trade and economic levers,” he said.

“These tactics are a common concern for Australia and other countries in the region, and we cannot respond to them alone.

“Our Navy works collaboratively with other regional navies to respond to these challenges as part of our shared commitment to a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”

He said the Indo-Pacific was undergoing the most consequential strategic alignment since WWII, with increased competition between great powers and faster technological development and military modernisation.

“In this increasingly uncertain environment, our Navy must grow in size, shape and capability in order to effectively shape our environment, deter actions against Australia’s interests and, if necessary, respond with military force to fight and win at sea,” he said.

“Our Navy’s fleet is evolving significantly over the next two decades to meet the challenges of our strategic environment. 

“Australia must have a strong sovereign Defence industry to deliver and sustain the quality, technologically advanced capabilities Navy people need to keep them safe and to do their job.”

Vice Admiral Noonan said Indo-Pacific 2022 would provide a valuable opportunity for the exchange of ideas, and to enable a true focus on commonality of purpose in the region.

“Nothing can beat this kind of face-to-face engagement, and the relationships it helps to forge,” he said.

For the full conference program, visit www.indopacificexpo.com.au/seapower2022

To live stream the conference, go to https://www.thestreamingguys.com.au/production/spc-day1/

Or you can download the Indo Pacific 2022 app.