Obama to renew, strengthen ties in Australia
Honolulu: Simply by showing up, President
Barack Obama is making good on a promise twice deferred to visit Australia.
It also will be an occasion to renew bonds with an
exceptionally close US ally and strengthen the two nations`
defense posture in the Pacific region.
Obama set out yesterday from Hawaii bound for the
Australian capital of Canberra. Crossing the international
dateline on Air Force One, he was to arrive mid-afternoon
local time Wednesday for a day and a half visit.
For Obama and Australia, the third time`s the charm. He
cancelled two earlier visits, once to stay in town to lobby
for passage of his health care bill, and again in the wake of
the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The president is expected to announce that the US is
expanding its military presence in Australia, positioning US equipment there, increasing access to bases and conducting more joint exercises and training.
The moves would counter an increasingly aggressive China,
which claims dominion over vast areas of the Pacific that the
US considers international waters, and has alarmed smaller
Asian neighbours by reigniting old territorial disputes,
including confrontations over the South China Sea.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that the goal is
to signal that the US and Australia will stick together in
face of any threats.
Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, speaking
with reporters on the flight to Australia, said that serving
as a counterweight to China`s growing influence was just one
factor in the ramped-up US military presence in Australia.
Others included being able to respond more quickly to
natural disasters in the region, such as the devastating
earthquake and tsunami earlier this year in Japan, and
fighting terrorism and piracy on the high seas to help keep
sea lanes of commerce open.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Over 60 cadets killed in Pakistan police academy attack
- DNA: Terrorists' new strategy of snatching weapons from Indian security personnel
- Watch: PM Narendra Modi's ''progressive'' remark on triple talaq
- Panel discussion over vote bank politics on Hinduism
- Panel discussion over delayed development in Ayodhya
- Explosion in Delhi's Naya Bazar, one killed; anti-terror wing, Special cell at spot
- WATCH: Akhilesh Yadav's emotional speech revealing the real reason behind Samajwadi Party crisis; he was about to cry
- India vs New Zealand: Awestruck Kiwis witness MS Dhoni driving his Hummer in Ranchi, and photo goes viral
- Lashkar-e-Toiba claims responsibility for Uri attack in posters pasted in Pakistan town
- Naya Bazar explosion: Home Ministry seeks report from Delhi Police; one dead, 5 injured