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    Australian and Indonesian Forces Deploy Battle Tanks in US-Led Combat Drills Amid Chinese Concern

    Australian and Indonesian Forces Deploy Battle Tanks in US-Led Combat Drills Amid Chinese Concern

    BANYUWANGI, (AP) — Thousands of soldiers from the United States, Indonesia, Australia and other allied forces demonstrated their armor capabilities on Sunday in combat drills on the Indonesian island of Java at a time of increased Chinese aggression in the region.

    President Joe Biden's administration has been strengthening an arc of alliances in the Indo-Pacific to reassure allies alarmed by Beijing's increasingly provocative actions in the disputed South China Sea, which has become a battleground for U.S-Chinese rivalries.

    During the drills, Australian forces deployed five M1A1 Abrams battle tanks and the Indonesian military, deployed two Leopard-2 tanks for the two-week combat exercises in Banyuwangi, a coastal district in East Java province which began Sept. 1. It will include live-fire drills.

    It was the first time Australia deployed battle tanks outside its territory since the Vietnam war.

    The Garuda Shield drills have been held annually between American and Indonesian soldiers since 2009. Last year's participants —Australia, and Singapore — joined again Sunday and the list expanded to include the United Kingdom and bringing the total number of troops taking part in the drills to 5,000.

    China sees the expanded drills as a threat, accusing the U.S. of building an Indo-Pacific alliance similar to NATO to limit China's growing military and diplomatic influence in the…

    Continue Reading This Article At Military.com

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