Australia and the United States launched their biggest joint war
games on Monday, with 27,500 troops backed by a US aircraft carrier
engaging in exercises aimed at consolidating the allies' military
dominance in the Asia Pacific region.
The biennial Talisman Sabre exercise pits 20,000 US troops and
7,500 Australian forces against two fictional enemies - the
Kamarians and Musorians - in a variety of land and sea-based
scenarios designed to test their skills in combat, peacekeeping and
humanitarian relief efforts.
The exercise, which runs until July 2, will also include 10 US
ships, 20 Australian ships and 125 aircraft operating off the coast
of Rockhampton in northeastern Queensland state.
The exercise comes as the United States and Japan step up
efforts to build a joint missile defense system in Asia, partly as
a bulwark against regional threats.
Australia, a steadfast US ally that maintains around 2,000
troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, is studying whether to participate
in the defense shield, Defense Minister Brendan Nelson announced
Canberra is expanding its military personnel to 30,500 troops
from 27,500, and ramping up other defense capabilities as part of
an overhaul to take greater responsibility for Asian security.
Japan plans to send observers to the Talisman Sabre operation,
Crowder said, but would not expand on what role they might play in
the exercise. Australia and Japan signed a security agreement in
March that will enable Japanese forces to train alongside
Australians for disaster relief and peacekeeping missions, and
boost cooperation between the two countries in counterterrorism
measures and intelligence sharing.
(China Daily via agencies June 19, 2007)