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Australian Navy plans Indian Ocean maneuvers

An Australian naval task group will steam into the Indian Ocean early next month after taking part in a multination exercise off the West Australian coast, says Pentagon correspondent Steve Webbe.

Australian Defense Minister Dennis Killen says the group of four warships and one submarine will take part in Exercise Sandgroper 80 with units of the US and Royal New Zealand navies and then deploy to various ports for a series of goodwill visits and exercises.

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The deployment is viewed here as evidence of Canberra's concern over greatly reinforced Soviet naval power in the tense Indian Ocean.