Amid growing Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region, Australia has now announced its decision to shift its naval presence in the Middle East to Asia-Pacific and China. Quoting Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, ABC News reported that Australia will no longer send a Royal Australian Navy ship to the Middle East every year.
Further, the country will also withdraw from the US-led naval coalition patrolling the Strait of Hormuz at the end of 2020.
“This year alone has seen [the] Navy respond to the bushfire and COVID-19 crises, a five-ship deployment throughout South-East Asia and the Pacific, a continued commitment to initiatives under the Pacific Step Up, and several highly successful activities with our regional partners,” Minister Reynolds said.
“As a result, the Australian Defence Force will reduce its naval presence in the Middle East to enable more resources to be deployed in our region,” the Minister added.
ABC News further said in its report that the shift was flagged in the government’s recent Defence Strategic Update, which declared that deteriorating strategic circumstances would force the military to focus more sharply on the Indo-Pacific and Australia’s immediate region.