Australia to militarily reinforce northeastern coast amid Indo-Pacific tensions

Sydney, Australia, Sep 28 (EFE).- The Australian government is to militarily reinforce its northeastern coast by relocating soldiers and materiel to face the challenges in the Indo-Pacific, epicenter of geopolitical tensions between Beijing and Washington.

“These changes to Army are about responding to the recommendations of the Defense Strategic Review to maintain peace, security and prosperity in our region,” Defense Minister Richard Marles said in a statement on Wednesday.

“This will mean Army has a concentration of people and capabilities in Australia’s north, making it easier to deploy for training, major exercises or to support our partners and allies in the region.”

The restructuring planned from December next year puts the northern city of Townsville, along with Brisbane and Darwin, as the main strategic points of the Australian coast facing the Pacific.

The announcement said “we are moving from generalist combat brigades to specialist combat brigades,” which will have, among other characteristics, amphibious and aerial surveillance, as well as armored and motorized combat capabilities.

To this end, the number of soldiers deployed in the city of Adelaide, which has been designated to host long-range strike and integrated air and missile defense capabilities, will be temporarily reduced, according to the statement.

“These changes will deliver world class, relevant and credible combat capabilities that are focused and optimized for operating in the littoral environments of our region, on land, at sea and in the air,” said Acting Army Chief Maj. Gen. Richard Vagg in the statement.

The restructuring responds to a plan to implement the largest reform since World War II following the Defense Strategic Review released in April.

That review, partially declassified, determined that Australia’s defense strategy was “no longer fit for purpose” as a deterrent, in a geopolitical context marked by “the rise of the ‘missile age’ in modern warfare,” cyber warfare and dangers beyond the borders of the Oceanian country.

Australia’s new military approach is part of the fight between the United States and China for influence in the Indo-Pacific, a region with several hot spots that increase the likelihood of a military conflict, including tensions between Beijing and Taipei and several countries in the South China Sea.

In the midst of these tensions, Australia signed a defense pact with the United Kingdom and the US in September 2021, which includes the acquisition of nuclear powered submarines for Canberra. EFE


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