Several thousand American soldiers have arrived in the area of tension, and a massive show of force is being prepared
The United States and its Asian allies have expressed concern about China’s growing influence in the Pacific, but Washington says the exercises are not targeting any country. The annual maneuvers, codenamed Super Garuda Shield, began in Baluran, East Java, with the participation of more than 2,000 US soldiers. The Indonesian army has deployed 2,800 soldiers to participate in the exercise, which was officially launched by the country’s Armed Forces Commander, Yudo Margono, on Thursday morning.
Super Garuda Shield 2023 builds on the huge success of last year
Gen. Charles Flynn, commander of US forces in the Pacific, said in a statement. “These multinational joint military exercises demonstrate our collective commitment and unity (…), enabling the establishment of a stable, secure, more peaceful, free and open region in the Indian and Pacific Oceans,” the statement said.
The two-week exercise will take place at several training grounds in East Java and will involve military personnel from Australia, Japan, Singapore, France and the United Kingdom.
Training includes scientific expert exchange and professional development workshops, command and control simulations, amphibious exercises, air operations and airfield occupation.
The military maneuvers took place last year after China conducted unprecedented military exercises around Taiwan, which it considers part of its territory. Brazil, Brunei, South Korea, the Philippines, the Netherlands, India, Canada, Timor-Leste, Malaysia, Germany, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand are participating in the exercises as observers.
The cover image shows last year’s Super Garuda Shield military training operations. Cover photo: Mehmet AF/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images