China’s escalated military presence in the Indo-Pacific region has made the South China Sea dispute hotter than ever. China has been building artificial islands in the region and equipping them with lethal weapons hence leaving the US allies with no choice but to retaliate with an increased military assertiveness from their side. In response to China, the US too is now bringing more impetus to its military presence in the Indo-Pacific.
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This enhanced military presence of the US includes weapons, equipment, military exchanges, joint military drills and setting up of new high-end military bases. The US has relentlessly argued that it stands for a free and open Indo-Pacific accessible to all.
As reported by the Global Times, as a part of the Indo-Pacific strategy of the US, an intensified military presence in Guam, Darwin Harbor and Diego Garcia will be of immense strategic significance. Guam is located in Western Pacific while Darwin Harbour and Diego Garcia being in northern Australia and the central Indian Ocean respectively. While Diego Garcia will function as a support centre, Guam and Darwin Harbour will be key military bases.
US-Australia at Indo-Pacific
Diego Garcia has been a base of the US since 2007 and Guam offers large airports, berths and warehouses. Guam has the potential to serve the US troops in times of a crisis situation in the Indo-Pacific.
In the recent times, the Darwin Harbour has been the key to the US military for it is the Darwin Harbour where the US has been parking its naval vessels. But the Darwin Harbour is in Australia and although Australia is an ally of the US, Australia might not be really willing to participate in the Indo-Pacific strategy of the US, against China.
Besides building and upgrading military bases in the region the joint military exercises, it also boasts the might and influence of the US in the region. The recently conducted Malabar Naval Exercise jointly held by India and the US was later joined by Japan. Any nation which stands for a free and open Indo-Pacific will look to stand with the US hence adding to its strength furthermore.