Talisman Sabre drills are ‘expeditionary wars & invasions’ - Australian Greens senator

F/A-18E Super Hornet from the Eagles of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 115 being launched from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) during the two-week "Talisman Sabre" exercise in the Timor Sea, off the northern coast of Australia. (AFP PHOTO / US NAVY / Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chris Cavagnaro)
The Australian Army’s joint military exercises with US and Japanese troops send the “wrong message” to neighbors, believes Greens Senator Scott Ludlam. The 30,000 troops training landing operations and task-force protection is not about defense, he said.

“Most people join the ADF [Australian Defense Force] expecting that they’re there for the defense of Australian territory,” the Guardian cited Ludlam as saying outside a peace conference in Brisbane on Thursday. “That’s not what they are training for – it’s about landing on beaches and invading other people’s countries.”

Such war games are about “expeditionary wars and invasions,” Ludlam said, stressing that they undermine Australia’s independence and send the “wrong message” to its neighbors.

“I don’t think we should be preparing for a war with China,” Ludlam said.

As if confirming his words, ABC News quoted Australian Army Brigadier Mick Ryan as saying that “We all face pretty challenging problems overseas and the only way we can solve them is to work together.”

READ MORE: US could permanently base warships in Australia – admiral

This year the biennial Exercise Talisman Sabre, held for the sixth time altogether, has gathered nearly 30,000 troops from Australia and New Zealand, the US and Japan in central Queensland to train in “high-end” warfare, according to Australia’s Department of Defense.

READ MORE: Japan joins US-Aussie military drills amid regional tensions

Ludlam’s note about China is well-connected to the fact that Japanese servicemen are taking part in Talisman Sabre for the first time. Washington has consistently backed Tokyo in its argument with Beijing regarding territorial dispute over a group of islands in East China Sea.

“I don’t think we should be participating in that kind of provocation,” Ludlam said

In the meantime ABC News cited the US Army Brigadier General Brain Alvin, who said that “Australia, in the mind of the US military, is one of our most important partners in the Pacific region.”

READ MORE: Beijing finishing land reclamation project in S. China Sea, Japan ‘mulls’ shooting down drones

“These war games I think are an unwelcome increase in our integration not only with the United States, but with Japan, where Japan has the most nationalist government that country has had since 1945,” Professor Richard Tanter, of the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability told the Guardian.

Australian Christian activists are objecting the Australian-US military alliance, campaigning against the military exercise by trespassing in the Shoalwater Bay training area, where more than 400 Australian and American paratroopers were airdropped on Wednesday.

Ludlam backed the pacifist activists, saying “That’s how seriously people take these issues, so good on them.”

Ryan told ABC the drill at Shoalwater Bay was called to test paratrooper deployment to conflict faraway zones, such as Afghanistan.

“If you can get people quickly to a trouble spot, you can address the situation in ways that [you] might not have been able to if you're arriving days or weeks later,” he said.