Visit of Italian Defense Minister to Australia


2017-03-06  In an article published on the Italian Ministry of Defence website on February 22, 2017, the first official visit of an Italian Minister of Defence to Australia was discussed.

With the coming of the F-35 to the Avalon Air Show in early March, the two countries are key partners in the F-35 program. And both countries are standing up their F-35 force at about the same time.

There is a difference however.

The Australian government has made the F-35 the centerpiece of their defense transformation strategy and is very visible in its discussion about the F-35 global enterprise’s contribution to defense, security and economic development.

The Italian government is much quieter in its standup process. Even though the Italian program has registered many firsts in the F-35 program, you would look long and hard for a video such as the one issued by the Australian Ministry of Defence at the Avalon Airshow this week.

In the video below the Australian government welcomes the first F-35s to Australia.

According to the Ministry of Defence story:

The first official visit by Minister Pinotti to Australia -which followed the invitation extended by her counterpart, Minister for Defence Marise Payne- aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries, which share common views on a number of  global security and defence  issues.

Italy and Australia’s common anti-terrorism strategy is testified by the respective contributions to NATO Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan and the International Coalition to Counter Daesh.

The visit also offered an opportunity to strengthen Italy-Australia relationships on defence themes, also on the basis of a number of common projects and of possible future partnerships able to produce significant returns in terms of employment, technology, shipbuilding activities and military projects.  

Minister Pinotti underscored the above-mentioned themes during a number of institutional meetings held in Sydney, during which the willingness emerged to reinforce cooperation in the defence sector with a 360° approach in both the operational and industrial sector, by defining broad-spectrum projects.

Italy and Australia are faraway from a geographical point of view, but they have “shared views on how to defeat the global terrorist threat”, Minister Pinotti said.

Regional security in the Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, the counter-Daesh campaign and the Australian naval shipyard plan were the focus of bilateral talks between Roberta Pinotti and her Australian counterpart Marise Payne. The meeting was also an opportunity to reiterate Italy and Australia’s shared views in a number of sectors connected with global security, and how every form of mutual cooperation and shared experience is useful to improve bilateral relationships.

Cooperation between Italy and Australia on themes that are important for both countries allows tackling changes on the regional and global scenarios in an increasingly effective way. Hence the importance of international relations aimed at improving all forms of cooperation and sharing of experience to solve common problems.

During her meeting with Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne, the willingness emerged to reinforce the partnership in the defence industry.

Cooperation, going beyond the military sector, was also the theme of talks between Roberta Pinotti and Minister for Finance Matthias Corman and Attorney General George Brandis.

In Sidney Minister Pinotti also met the representatives of the Italian community, that she thanked for the important role they play in promoting Italian culture.

The “Italian approach” has now become a feature of our Armed Forces deployed in international theatres recognised at global level. “Whether they train the Libyan Coast Guard within the framework of Operation Sophia or the Iraqi troops tasked with defeating terrorism – the Minister said- they are able to establish a relationship and convey the message that our security objective is a shared objective”.

On her arrival in Sydney the Minister went on board Italian Navy Ship  Carabiniere, “one of the symbols of Italy’s institutions and industry working  as a single system on the move”. The Italian Navy Multi-Mission European Frigate (FREMM) had docked in Sydney for a few days during the third leg of her Australian campaign.

Roberta Pinotti was welcomed by Navy Chief, Admiral Valter Girardelli, who underscored the importance of Itaiy-Australia cooperation. The Memorandum of Understanding between the Federation of Italian Aerospace, Defence and Security Industries (AIAD), and Australian AIDN and AIG was also signed on board the Italian frigate by AIAD President Guido Crosetto, and his Australian counterparts Alan Rankins and Peter Burn.

The last leg of her official visit to Australia took Roberta Pinotti to Sydney War Memorial, where she laid a wreath to honour the fallen. She was welcomed to the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park by a delegation of the Embassy and Veterans Associations.