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Australia has launched six warships into the Indo-Pacific for training operations ahead of huge show of force in the region with the US Navy.

HMA Ships Canberra, Hobart, Stuart, Anzac, Ballarat and Arunta all left their base in Sydney Harbour on Monday.

They will conduct ‘task group training’ before taking part in a warfare training exercise with the US and other allies known as the Rim of the Pacific in August.

The exercise is the world’s largest international maritime warfare training mission, held every two years from Honolulu, Hawaii.

A defence spokesman said the ships are ‘currently conducting maritime task group training under strict COVID-19 preventive measures’.

It comes amid trade tensions with China after Australia angered Beijing by calling for an inquiry into the origins of coronavirus which erupted in Wuhan.

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