Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the government is poised to use up $580 million to upgrade four northern military bases of the country and scale up its war games with the United States.
In his announcement, Morrison said that it would be crucial for the country to expand and upgrade its military assets in the Northern Territory of Australia so that it would be able to swiftly respond to any unprecedented tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.
The decision came amid a deepening diplomatic and trading rift between China and Australia.
In the press release, Morrison said that an airstrip stationed in the Northern Territory would be developed and widened so that it would be able to support larger aircraft. Firing ranges and new training would also be set up for Australia’s defense forces and U.S. marines.
“Working with the United States, our allies and Indo-Pacific neighbors, we will continue to advance Australia’s interests by investing in the Australian Defense Force,” Morrison said in a press release.
“Our objective is a free and open Indo-Pacific, to ensure a peaceful region, one that, at the same time, Australia is in a position to always protect its interests,” he added.
The upgrades for the country’s military bases are set to begin this year and expected to be done by 2026.
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