Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith visited Stockholm, Sweden on Wednesday 20 February.
Australia and Sweden have shared values, a common strategic interest in peacekeeping and stabilisation operations and a longstanding history of cooperation on submarines.
Minister Smith met with Swedish Minister for Defence Karin Enstrom.
The two colleagues discussed possible Swedish involvement in Australia’s Future Submarine project.
The 2009 White Paper outlined the Government’s commitment to acquire 12 new Future Submarines to be assembled in South Australia over the next three decades.
The Future Submarine project will be the largest and most complex Defence project ever undertaken by Australia.
Minister Enstrom and his Australian counterpart discussed their respective membership of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and shared partnership with NATO.
In addition, they also discussed Afghanistan, progress in the transition to Afghan led security responsibility and the post-2014 international commitment to Afghanistan.
Australia and Sweden have strong reasons to cooperate with NATO beyond Afghanistan.
The challenges of international terrorism, nuclear proliferation and maritime security are enduring and reach beyond both Australia and Europe’s immediate region.
Minister Smith also met State Secretary for Defence Carl von der Esch, Director General of the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) Lena Erixon, Chair of the Swedish Defence Commission Cecilia Widegren MP and Chair of the Swedish Parliamentary Defence Committee Peter Hultqvist MP.
During Australian Minister’s visit to Stockholm he was accompanied by the Chief of the Defence Force General David Hurley and the Australian Ambassador to Sweden Gerald Thomson.
Naval Today Staff, February 21, 2013; Image: Australian Govt