USS Blue ridge
CHANGI, Singapore (March 18, 2016) U.S. 7th Fleet conducts staff talks with Republic of Singapore Navy personnel on board U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19). Blue Ridge is currently on patrol in the Indo-Asia Pacific area of operation after completing a 6-month selected restricted availability maintenance period. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Indra Bosko/Released)
US 7th Fleet, Indo-Asia-Pacific Navies Increase Multilateral Cooperation

CHANGI, Singapore (NNS) -- Maritime leaders from U.S. 7th Fleet, Republic of Singapore Navy, Royal Malaysian Navy, Philippine Navy and Indonesian Navy met for a professional exchange of ideas to discuss operational topics aboard U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), March 19-20.

The multilateral meetings were designed for the participating Indo-Asia-Pacific navies to share knowledge and discuss lessons learned within the region.

During a 7th Fleet-hosted Southeast Asian Fleet Commander's Roundtable, senior navy leaders from the five nations had professional dialogues on various maritime issues such as multilateral exercises, freedom of navigation operations and maritime law, rules and norms. They also discussed ways to increase theater security cooperation through multilateral military interactions.

"From a 7th Fleet point of view, I really want to train together, I really believe in multilateralism," said Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, commander of U.S. 7th Fleet. "I think it's very important for us to operate very closely in exercises with navies in this region. That will only make us stronger, and will enable us to help with security, not only for man-made issues, but for natural disasters as well."

"Friendships are not forged at the really higher level, friendships are really forged at the individual level," said Rear Adm. Lew Chuen Hong, Republic of Singapore Navy fleet commander, at a reception aboard Blue Ridge March 20 after the two days of meetings had concluded.

Blue Ridge and its embarked 7th Fleet staff arrived in Singapore for a port visit March 13 to strengthen multilateral relationships in the region.

The U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Asia Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy's largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build maritime partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability and prevent conflict.

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