On Tuesday, the Australia India Institute declared a new Australia India Defence Program that will be launched in Canberra on February 7.
The program will be led by Security & Geopolitics Director, David Brewster and will be addressed by Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and Minister for Defence, Richard Marles.
“The Institute will commence a new Australia-India Defence Program in 2023 led by Security & Geopolitics Director @DavidBrewster6 and launched in Canberra on Feb 7 with an address from Minister @RichardMarlesMP. #defence #security #geopolitics #indianocean,” tweeted the Australia India Institute.
The Security and Geopolitics program has focus on the security, defence, foreign policy, strategic affairs, and geopolitical issues of importance to Australia and India, as well as those in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) and 2+2 Ministerial Dialogues have enabled both countries to work together in order to strengthen security and defence cooperation bilaterally, as well as through multilateral endeavours, in order to ensure regional stability, peace, prosperity, and inclusivity.
This program seeks to foster dialogue between policy-makers, experts, analysts, and researchers in order to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the regional security landscape and the relationship between Australia and India when it comes to security and defence.
This includes cooperation in defence capabilities, maritime security, intelligence-sharing and counter-terrorism, and in the enhancement of regional security institutions and relationships. The program will address security cooperation in a broad range of areas including transnational threats, climate change and environmental security, critical infrastructure and technology, read Australia India Institute statement.
The Australia India Institute was founded in 2008 with funding received from the Australian Government. Since its inception, the Institute has been dedicated to the study of India, the understanding of contemporary India in Australia, and to the development of the bilateral relationship.
The growing dependence of the major industrial economies of North Asia on the Gulf region for their energy supplies has steadily increased the importance of the Indian Ocean as a major economic thoroughfare, said Professor Michael Wesley, Deputy Vice-Chancellor International, University of Melbourne.
China’s emergence as the world’s largest oil importer, against a background of rivalry with the US, has transformed the Indian Ocean’s economic importance into a potential power resource. In the event of serious confrontation or conflict, the ability of the US and its allies to restrict China’s oil supplies across the Indian Ocean would be a major strategic asset. It would risk crippling both China’s economic viability and its war-fighting ability.
As Beijing’s strategic capabilities and ambitions have grown, so has the imperative to protect China’s Indian Ocean energy supplies. China’s greater assertiveness since 2008 has brought serious confrontations with India, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines and Australia.
For Australia and India, this has changed the salience of the Indian Ocean in both countries’ strategic frameworks.
However, as rising global strategic competition spills into the Indian Ocean, Australia has rediscovered its other ocean. Australia was among the first countries to advocate a conception of the “Indo-Pacific” as a strategic realm rather than just the Asia Pacific, said Wesley.
The convergence of India’s and Australia’s interests in the Indian Ocean now lays the foundations for a burgeoning strategic partnership.
Australia’s inclusion in India’s “Malabar” naval exercises in 2020, and India’s inclusion in Australia’s “Talisman Sabre” exercises, along with the Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement signed by both countries in 2020, are all establishing the scaffolding for a deeper Indo-Australian strategic partnership in the Indian Ocean.