U.S., Indonesia kick off annual exercises as tensions grow with China

U.S., Indonesia kick off annual exercises as tensions grow with China

The U.S. and Indonesia are holding joint military exercises amid rising tensions with China in response to Beijing’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.

Australia, Japan and Singapore will join the U.S. and Indonesia for Garuda Shield 2022, scheduled to run Aug. 1-14, according to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

Officials said about 2,000 U.S. troops and an equal number from Indonesia are taking part in the exercises, which will focus on areas such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, along with combatting conventional and unconventional threats in the region.

In addition to staff-level command post exercises focusing on U.N. peacekeeping operations, company-sized units will hold joint maneuvers to practice warfighting skills.

“I’m proud to see how Garuda Shield has grown since last year — expanding this summer to a joint, multinational exercise that includes all of our service components,” Gen. Charles Flynn, commander of U.S. Army Pacific, said in a statement. “It’s a symbol of the U.S.-Indonesia bond and the growing relationship between land forces in this consequential region.”

Canada, France, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and the United Kingdom are expected to join Garuda Shield 2022 as observer nations, officials said.