An Australian carrier task group led by the aircraft carrier Melbourne will be deployed in the Indian Ocean to help strengthen the western position in that region following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
That decision was announced at the conclusion of a meeting here yesterday of foreign ministers of ANZUS, the defense alliance linking Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
Appearing at a press conference with Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance, Australian Foreign Minister Andrew Peacock said his country's increased efforts in the Indian Ocean would be in addition to its normal ANZUS obligations of supplying naval defense forces in the Austrialia-New Zealand area.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Brian Talboys said his country will contribute naval and air support to the increased presence in the Indian Ocean to the extent that its resources permit.
Both Australia and New Zealand have been strong supporters of U.S. calls for a tough response to the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and the potential Soviet threat to the oil routes coming out of the Persian Gulf into the Indian Ocean.
Because of mutual concern, the three countries agreed to hold their annual meeting here this week instead of in New Zealand in July, as originally scheduled.