Thursday, September 16, 2021

After submarine deal, US, Australia announces expansion of military cooperation

Australia and the United States on Thursday announced increased military cooperation, including rotational deployments of all types of US military aircraft to Australia, a day after China criticised a submarine pact as escalating the regional arms race. Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton said the two countries would "substantially enhance our force posture coordination, increase interoperability, and deepen alliance actions in the Indo-Pacific" following discussions between the US and Australian foreign and defence ministries.

"More air cooperation will be achieved by rotating deployments of all sorts of US military aircraft to Australia," Dutton said at a joint press briefing in Washington. "We've also built integrated logistics sustainment and maintenance capabilities, including logistics and sustainment capability for our submarines and surface combatants in Australia, to support our expanded actions." 

According to US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, the conference approved "major force-positioning actions that would improve our access and presence in Australia." The US and the UK said on Wednesday that they would provide Australia with the technology and capability to deploy nuclear-powered submarines. The US and its allies are searching for measures to counter China's rising strength and influence, including military buildups, pressure on Taiwan, and deployments in the disputed South China Sea.

Also Read | China slams Australia-US-UK nuclear pact, says 'will closely monitor pact, can aggravate arms race'

China has slammed the new deal with Australia, saying that such alliances should not be aimed at other nations. The US, the UK, and Australia were "seriously harming regional peace and stability, increasing an arms race, and jeopardising international nuclear non-proliferation efforts," according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.
The White House defended the United States' choice to transfer sophisticated nuclear-powered submarine technology to Australia, despite objections from China and France.

from asianetnews

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