In order to neutralise China’s military expansion in the Indian Ocean, Australia has vowed to foster India-Australia bilateral ties across various dimensions. Australian authorities have expressed interest to boost defence ties with India so as to collectively challenge the briskly expanding influence of China.
There is rising strategic competition in the Indian Ocean: Australian Defence Minister
While addressing a meet of the Western Australia Indo-Pacific authorities, the Minister of Defence, Australia, Linda Reynolds said that the Indian Ocean has received lesser strategic attention from Australia as compared to the Pacific Ocean over decades.
However, now given the rapidly expanding competition and intensifying power rivalries in the Indian Ocean, Canberra would like to side with India to counter the Chinese influence. She further said that China by establishing its first naval base in the region at Djibouti in 2017 has made the Indian Ocean contentious.
India has emerged as an economic powerhouse: Australian Minister
The Australian Minister of Defence further acknowledged India’s rise as an economic and strategic power in the region and stated Australia’s willingness to see India as a key partner for the economic and strategic balance of power in the region.
She stated that besides some already existing key defence agreements between India and Australia, there is still a great scope of deepening cooperation and building better bilateral ties to reap mutual benefits from the activities in the Indian Ocean. In addition to India, the Australian minister also named Indonesia as a key partner to work with for stability in the region.