The federal government will spend $270billion over the next ten years on beefing up the Australian Defence Force with state-of-the-art equipment including long-range missiles and new artillery systems amid strategic and political tensions with China. In a speech to ADF cadets in Canberra on Wednesday morning, Scott Morrison will announce a major shift in defence policy to focus on projecting Australian power into the Indo-Pacific. It comes as the region faces growing instability after a brutal border dispute between India and China in the Himalayan mountains that killed at least 20 soldiers and with ongoing Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea and East China Sea. The main aim of the beef-up, which will include hiring 800 extra soldiers, is to deter aggression against Australia and its allies – but the Prime Minister also wants to prepare the defence force for war in case tensions escalate. Beijing and Canberra have been at loggerheads in recent weeks after Australia led global calls for an inquiry into the origins of Covid-19, which first surfaced in Wuhan late last year. China retaliated by slapping an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley, suspending beef imports and telling students and tourists not to… Read full this story
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