Australia boosts defense budget against 'coercion'

on Wednesday unveiled a decade-long with a marked increase in the country's defense spending, local media reported.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison committed 270 billion Australian dollars ($186.5 billion) for defense spending over the next 10 years with a focus on the region, public news service ABC News reported.

"We have not seen the conflation of global economic and strategic uncertainty now being experienced here in Australia in our region since the existential threat we faced when the global and regional order collapsed in the 1930s and 1940s," Morrison said.

Under the new plan, Australian Defense Forces (ADF) are expected to get long-range anti-shipping missiles as it refocuses on possible conflict with China in the Indo-Pacific, the report added.

The ADF will receive potent strike weapons, enhance cyber capabilities and acquire a high-tech underwater surveillance system.

Besides, over the next four years, it is expected to increase its personnel by 800 people -- 650 in Navy, 100 in Air Force, and 50 for the Army.

The ambitious defense program was revealed when Morrison addressed the Australian Defense Force Academy, where he said the Indo-Pacific region was the "epicenter of rising strategic competition and the risk of miscalculation -- and even conflict -- is heightening."

"The Indo-Pacific is where we live -- and we want an open, sovereign Indo-Pacific, free from coercion and hegemony," he added without specifically mentioning any country.



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