NADI, Fiji –
The Republic of Fiji Military Forces and the United States Indo-Pacific Command are jointly hosting the 25th annual Chiefs of Defence Conference (CHODs) at InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa in Nadi from Aug. 14-16, 2023.
This year, a total of 27 countries are attending the conference, which has been held annually since 1998 with the purpose of bringing together senior military leaders from across the Indo-Pacific to enhance mutual understanding and cooperation.
Each year, it contributes to advancing strides in Ally and partner interoperability by providing senior military leaders with the opportunity to discuss challenges and opportunities in the region together. The in-person conference advances conversations from virtual events held quarterly.
The theme for this year's conference is ‘Preserving the Rules-Based Order to Enable Sovereignty in an Era of Strategic Competition,’ with discussion topics focused on the exchange of ideas and best practices in order to enhance diplomatic ties, foster peace, stability and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. Three programmes are running simultaneously, one for the Chiefs of Defence, one for the Senior Enlisted Leaders and one for spouses of senior military leaders.
Participants attended the opening ceremony on Aug. 14, which included a speech from the Hon. Prime Minister of Fiji Sitiveni Rabuka, and a cultural presentation of traditions and customs.
In his opening remarks for the first day of sessions, co-host Major General Jone Kalouniwai, Commander Republic of Fiji Military Forces, thanked INDOPACOM for choosing Fiji as the venue for the event.
“We extend our gratitude to our fellow nations for entrusting us with this significant role, and we eagerly anticipate the enlightening discussions and productive exchanges that lie ahead,” Kalouniwai said. “This meeting symbolizes the RFMF's dedication to being at the forefront of proactive engagement, where open dialogue and mutual respect converge to build bridges towards lasting peace and stability. Together, through our shared commitment and joint efforts, we aim to fortify the foundations of a secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region."
The co-hosting of the conference demonstrates the strength of the Fiji and U.S. security partnership, as well as Fiji’s leadership in the region in support of the rules-based international order.
“The Chiefs of Defense Conference provides us a tremendous opportunity to strengthen the security environment in the Indo-Pacific,” said Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander, USINDOPACOM. “A peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific depends on the strength of relationships between nations who share common values, and a respect for sovereignty along with the rule of law.”