AKIPRESS.COM - The US and Australia kicked off their biennial Exercise Talisman Sabre on July 14, in Australia and its nearby waters as tensions simmer in the Indo Pacific region, The Times of India reported.
Defense forces from Japan, the UK, Canada, South Korea and New Zealand will also take part in the drills, while India, Indonesia, Germany and France will participate as observers.
"The exercise will further strengthen our co-operation toward a free and open Indo-Pacific," Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters on July 15.
Australia, India, Japan and the US have been promoting a rules-based order in the region through their Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad.
The drills come at a time when the international focus is growing in Indo Pacific, which is largely viewed as an area comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.
Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton said that Australia has been monitoring foreign ships including China’s as part of Australia's broader surveillance effort.
Japan is sending a Ground Self-Defense Force unit specializing in remote island defense and tasked with the initial response to a contingency in the Nansei Islands, which include the Japan-administered Senkakus that are claimed by China as the Dioayu.
The GSDF will participate in a landing drill with US and British marines and the Royal Australian Army.
"Amphibious manoeuvres are critical to defending the Nansei Islands, which is one of Japan's top defence priorities," GSDF Chief of Staff General Yoshihide Yoshida said. "Bolstering our tactical skills will strengthen our defense capabilities."