China-wary Australia plans military build-up

May 2nd, 2009 - 3:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, May 2 (DPA) New submarines with cruise missiles able to strike targets thousands of kilometres from Australia are the centrepiece of plans for a military build-up announced here Saturday.
The 20-year defence blueprint acknowledged the rise of China as a military force and the challenge to US supremacy in the region.

“Shows of force by rising powers are likely to become more common as their military capabilities expand,” the plan said. “Growing economic inter-dependence will not preclude inter-state conflicts or tensions short of war, especially over resources or political differences.”

The thrust of the policy is to defend Australia against any potential threats and to be able to do that offshore.

The Navy is the big winner in a programme that foresees maintaining a three-percent annual increase in spending until 2018 and 2.2 percent after that.

The number of submarines would double - from six to 12 - and new warships with anti-submarine sonar are to be added to Australia’s fleet.

The plan stated that “we might have to contend with major power adversaries operating in our approaches - in the most drastic circumstances, as a consequence of wider conflict in the Asia-Pacific region”.

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